Is Chiropractic Care Sufficient After a Car Accident?

Many people who experience car accidents develop conditions like soft tissue damage, whiplash, and dislocated bones. In some cases, chiropractic care can be beneficial for recovering from these injuries, but chiropractic care is often not enough to fully treat the injuries that can result from a car accident.

The foundation of chiropractic care is that the cerebrospinal fluid that travels from the brain to the sacrum helps encourage healthy body functions. When the spine suffers an injury or falls out of alignment, the cerebrospinal fluid cannot flow correctly and may interfere with multiple bodily functions and processes. Chiropractic care aims to correct a misaligned spine to encourage a healthier flow of cerebrospinal fluid and better function throughout the body. However, the average car accident can cause injuries that fall well outside the scope of care that a chiropractor can offer.

Possible Injuries in a Car Accident

After a mild or moderate fender-bender, some drivers may experience aches and pains throughout the body due to misaligned or dislocated bones. Chiropractic care can certainly help with these issues, but there are many other possible injuries that can result from a car accident that chiropractic care simply cannot help, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries. Although chiropractic care aims to restore the link between the brain and the rest of the body for better overall health, chiropractic care cannot offer any treatment for actual brain injuries. A car accident may cause concussions or penetrating head injuries that require intensive medical treatment, surgery, and medications.
  • Broken bones. Chiropractic care cannot treat bone fractures. In some cases, chiropractic care may actually result in fractures in patients who have brittle bones or who suffered minor fractures from previous injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries. While chiropractic care can help put the spine back into proper alignment, it cannot do anything for an actual injury to the spinal cord. Unlike the rest of the body, the spinal cord cannot self-repair, so any injury is permanent.
  • Facial injuries. Impact wounds and airbags can cause serious facial injuries that may require reconstructive surgery.
  • Back and neck injuries. A chiropractor may be able to help with some of the symptoms of a back or neck injury, but these injuries still require specialized care. If a car accident victim sustains a herniated disc, vertebral fracture, or other internal injury, the victim should only visit a chiropractor after seeing a real doctor and consulting with relevant specialists.

These are just a few of the injuries that chiropractic care cannot treat. While chiropractic care may help with a joint dislocation, soft tissue injury or an aggravated (but undamaged) spine, it should not be the primary method of treatment after a car accident. In some cases, a plaintiff who solely relies on chiropractic care after a car accident may face increased scrutiny from a jury. Some attorneys unfortunately develop relationships with chiropractors nearby and refer car accident clients to these practitioners simply to run up a bill for a client or insurance claim.

Seek Comprehensive Medical Care After an Injury

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident, it’s possible that chiropractic care could be a valuable portion of your treatment. However, it should not be the only form of treatment. It is absolutely crucial for anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident to see a medical doctor as soon as possible to address all of his or her injuries. When it comes time to file an insurance claim or lawsuit for the accident, the jury and judge will want to see that the plaintiff sought appropriate medical care promptly after the accident.

It’s also important for a car accident victim who seeks chiropractic care after an injury to show proof that there was a medical need for chiropractic care, such as a specialist referral. A jury or judge will look unfavorably toward a plaintiff claiming compensation for chiropractic care without a good reason.