What To Do After a Car Accident to Manage Your Pain, Whiplash Symptoms and Choosing the Right ICBC Chiropractor
Hello, my name is Dr. Hafeez Merani and I’m the owner of Metrotown Family Chiropractic.
I’m proud to say we’ve been awarded one of the 3 best chiropractic clinics in all of Burnaby BC, as well as collected over 130+ glowing reviews from our amazing patients.
We have put together for you this in-depth guide to help you know exactly what to do after a car accident to help you manage your pain, whiplash symptoms, and help you in choosing the right ICBC chiropractor.
Here’s a sneak preview of what you’re about to learn in the blog post below:
- You’ll discover exactly what you should do when you’re involved in a car accident
- You’ll understand whether or not you have to pay for your visits to see a chiropractor
- You’ll know exactly how many times ICBC allows you to see a chiropractor after you’re involved in an accident
- You’ll also know what you can do if you require additional chiropractic sessions
- You’ll find out if you can visit other practitioners, such as a massage therapists or physiotherapists, while seeing a chiropractor
- … and much, MUCH more!
So again, if you’re an individual who was recently involved in a car accident, but you’re not sure if you should seek medical care, then the following article is for you. It aims to help you understand the biggest questions people have about what happens following a car accident.
We hope you find the following article helpful – happy reading!
What should you do when you’re involved in a car accident?
- The first thing you should do is stop. Typically, when a traumatic or unexpected event occurs, adrenaline and other hormones are distributed in our body, raising our heart rate and enhancing our senses. You need to take control of the situation by slowing your breathing and your thought process.
- The next thing is to take account of the scene – are there any injuries? Do the police need to be called? Does anyone need immediate medical attention?
- Make a record of the scene, including taking pictures/videos using your cellular phone, and exchanging information with the other people involved. Be as detailed as possible since after you leave the scene, you are less likely to remember nuances that may be crucial to remember later on. If another party is at fault, try to get this in writing or on video, this may be helpful for your insurance party later on.
- Call your insurance provider to report the accident and answer any questions they may have.
- Seek medical care – your first visit will likely be to your family physician. One of the most common results of a motor vehicle accident is to have whiplash, which your family physician will explain to you. He or she will then likely refer you, practitioners who specialize in treating whiplash – this may include massage therapy, chiropractic, or physiotherapy.
If there is a treatment style that’s worked well for you in the past, be sure to bring it up with your family physician. Something that’s worked before is likely to have success again. If you’re experiencing a sudden onset of headaches, brain fogginess, light or sound sensitivity, you may also have a concussion – please bring up these symptoms to your health care practitioner.
What practitioners are covered by ICBC, after you’re involved in a car accident?
Chiropractic, registered massage therapy, acupuncture, and physiotherapy are examples of disciplines directly covered by ICBC after someone’s involvement in a motor vehicle accident.
ICBC typically encourages patients to seek treatment right away, as they know that the sooner care is found, the patient can usually get better faster and return being pain-free.
When should I visit my chiropractor after an accident?
You must have an examination by a chiropractor as soon as possible to support your recovery process.
Your chiropractor will treat your whiplash pain through a combination of adjustments and soft tissue therapy, as well as prescribe rehabilitation exercises to increase your speed of recovery.
The good news is that most people get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan.
How do I prepare for my ICBC chiropractic appointment?
Although there is no formal preparation necessary, you will likely be asked the following questions, so it may be worthwhile to give them some thought. They may include but not be limited to:
- Where are you experiencing pain?
- Are you taking any medication currently?
- What would you rate your pain from 0 to 10?
- In your own words, describe how your accident occurred
- Were you experiencing any neck or back pain before your accident?
- Have you experienced whiplash or any other relevant injuries before your car accident?
- Are you experiencing any headaches, sensitivity to light or sound, mental fogginess, or difficulty concentrating?
How do I choose the right chiropractor to help me with my whiplash and ICBC claim?
Doing your research is incredibly important since you will likely be spending considerable time working with your chiropractor.
This research can include speaking to friends or relatives if they have anyone they can recommend, doing research online, reading reviews/testimonials, as well as calling the clinic and gauging how helpful they are at answering your questions.
Most clinics will also offer the opportunity for you to meet with the chiropractor to discuss your symptoms with no obligation to begin treatment.
In essence, this allows you to get a feel for his/her practice style and answer any other questions you have face to face.
What if I start working with an ICBC approved chiropractor, and it doesn’t seem like they’re right for me?
Don’t worry – the beauty of being a patient is you are in the driver’s seat and can choose where to go.
It’s never a bad idea to provide your chiropractor with feedback or suggestions about the treatment you’re receiving – in this way, accommodations can be made that might allow you to continue working at the clinic you started at and for all parties to remain on the same page.
Like any relationship, communication is key – feedback, even if it’s positive, is still a great tool to let your practitioner know they’re helping you and doing a good job.
What will I feel after an accident?
Generally, whiplash symptoms (a feeling of tightness and stiffness) will start within 24 hours after an accident. You may also experience shock for the first 24 hours, which is characterized by anxiety, weakness, a fast heart rate, and respiration rate, as well as sweating profusely. Your whiplash symptoms may evolve over the next two weeks, where your pain may change locations, increase or decrease in intensity.
Abdominal swelling and pain, which can be a sign of internal tissue damage, may be present, particularly with accidents that involved higher velocity impacts.
In essence, this should be addressed immediately by your family physician or emergency room doctor.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another typical result of an accident. PTSD typically presents as anxiety when you start driving again, and another car on the road is driving aggressively, or you return to the scene of your accident.
If your airbags deployed in the accident, white pillow-like objects may also bring back memories of the crash and resultant apprehension.Be sure to mention this to your chiropractor or managing health care practitioner to ensure they can refer you to the right clinical counsellor or psychologist.
In summary, it’s essential to communicate to your chiropractor or physician, that wasn’t present before your accident.
What does whiplash feel like?
Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
Other injuries acquired from a car accident include back pain, joint pain, and muscle pain.
These symptoms occur when the vertebral joints, muscles, and nerves are subjected to uncommon forces and movements associated with a car crash.
Does whiplash show up on X-Rays or any other type of medical imaging?
No, it does not.
In the absence of any serious pathology which would be apparent with your history and physical exam, your medical practitioner will not order any imaging while treating you.
Imaging, however, may be ordered if your symptoms are not responding to conservative management or if your condition changes.
Does a concussion show up on X-Rays or any other type of medical imaging?
At this point, there is no gold standard way to diagnose or categorize a concussion through medical imaging – it is mostly based on your history and presentation.
Does ICBC care who’s at fault in the crash when seeking medical help for your injuries and whiplash symptoms?
The only thing ICBC wants is for you to feel better as soon as possible, which is why they’ve made accessing therapies like chiropractic easy and without cost.
Health care practitioners, like your chiropractor, also don’t mind who’s at fault – they simply want you to recover and return to a pain-free lifestyle.
What does the treatment process look like when seeing an ICBC approved chiropractor?
Here’s an idea of the treatment process if you’re injured in a crash:
You can work with your preferred health care provider, such as a chiropractor, to help you recover from a collision.
They will assess your injuries, develop a treatment plan, and write an assessment report to ICBC.
This report helps your claim representative better understand your diagnosis and support your recovery.
Do I have to pay for my visits to see the chiropractor?
You do not have to pay for your visits to see the chiropractor.
At our clinic, our primary goal is to ensure you can return to your pre-accident state as soon as possible,
which is why we direct bill ICBC for visits without charging our patients any additional cost.
This allows you to focus on your recovery and worry about one less thing during an already stressful time.
What ICBC chiropractic forms do I have to fill out at the clinic?
When you come for an initial visit, you’ll be asked to complete the regular intake forms for our chiropractic clinic, in addition to two other forms – an Oswestry Pain Scale and a Neck Disability Index Pain Scale.
These two forms are ways that a chiropractor tracks a patient’s progress and serve as objective outcome measures.
The last form is a consent form that allows us to direct bill ICBC on your behalf.
If you’re unable to fill out these forms due to pain or discomfort from a concussion, please don’t worry – a chiropractic office assistant will guide you through the process with compassion and care.
What forms will the chiropractor submit to ICBC regarding my accident?
Chiropractors will submit the initial report form (CL489C) to ICBC electronically as soon as they’ve assessed you.
They will also communicate any pertinent information regarding your case to your claims representative.
As your treatment plan progresses, if additional visits are required, your chiropractor will liaise with your claims adjustor to ensure you are getting the care you need or make a transition to active therapies like working with a kinesiologist in the gym.
How many times does ICBC allow me to see a chiropractor after I’m involved in an accident?
For the first 12 weeks after your crash, you are entitled to 25 chiropractic visits.
In most cases, this is enough to manage most mild-moderate instances of whiplash and return the patient to work and all of their activities of daily living.
What if I see a chiropractor 12 weeks after I’m involved in an accident?
As mentioned earlier, ICBC wants your recovery to be as quick and expedient as possible.
Accordingly, most claim representatives will approve chiropractic sessions at any point so long as there are objective findings that support care.
Examples of this could include reaching a plateau with physiotherapy or wanting to try a different course therapy after a few months have elapsed.
In some instances, your claim representative may wish to see a note from your family physician to prescribe chiropractic care, so it’s always a good idea to keep them apprised of your recovery status.
What if I require additional chiropractic sessions after 25 visits have elapsed?
Your recovery may require additional treatment beyond 12 weeks after a crash takes place.
If your chiropractor has indicated that your treatment plan needs to be extended, they will contact your claim representative with your consent and approval.
Together, your claim representative and chiropractor will come up with a plan to ensure you obtain the care you need to continue your recovery.
My physician told me not to go to work due to my whiplash symptoms – is it still safe to visit a chiropractor?
Your chiropractor’s goal is to help reduce muscle and joint pain, the key hallmarks of whiplash.
Taking rest via time off work is an essential step in not controlling your whiplash symptoms and helping them diminish.
Your chiropractor, along with other members of your medical team, will work collaboratively to gradually increase your physical activities in a safe manner, and that does not exacerbate your condition.
Eventually, a graduated return to work will begin to ensure future flare-ups don’t occur, and your recovery continues to go smoothly.
Can chiropractors treat whiplash?
Absolutely. After an initial consultation and examination, the chiropractor will perform the following treatment interventions to ease whiplash symptoms which may include:
- Soft tissue therapy and joint mobilizations/manipulation
- Modification to current activities at the workplace or home
- Home stretching and strengthening exercises
- Ergonomic advice to facilitate a safe return to work
How can I manage whiplash symptoms on my own?
Treating whiplash involves the following key principles: pain control, obtaining normal movement in the spine, and allowing you to return to your regular activities.
Things that you can do include rest, hot or cold therapies (in 15-minute intervals), over the counter pain medication like Robax or Tylenol, and performing gentle stretches or exercise.
The key with exercise and stretches is that it should never exacerbate your pain – if it does, you’ve likely done too much.
What stretches can I do at home to help manage my whiplash symptoms?
It’s always best to follow the advice of a medical practitioner like a chiropractor, massage therapist, or physiotherapist when treating an injury.
With that said, stretches for whiplash should be gentle and focused on restoring range of motion.
As your range of motion returns, you’ll be able to go deeper into a stretch and add complexity to your rehab exercises.
My chiropractor told me I have a concussion with my car accident – what does this mean?
A concussion can occur from any type of motor vehicle accident, regardless of their severity, due to the movement of the brain in the cranial vault.
The result is swelling and bruising of the brain tissue which medical practitioners diagnose as a concussion.
Common symptoms include sensitivity to light, sound, and smells, as well as nausea and a general cognitive fog making it difficult to work or interact with others.
How will my chiropractor help me treat my concussion that is related to my car accident?
Chiropractors, like other health care professionals, follow concussion management protocols that have been established by clinical researchers.
This includes advising patients to take relative rest, abstaining from activities that exacerbate concussion symptoms (light and sound sensitivity), and performing light physical activity.
For more severe cases, they may refer you to a neurologist or a concussion specialist in their community.
Can I visit other practitioners, such as a massage therapist or physiotherapist, while seeing the chiropractor?
Most clinics, including ours, support interdisciplinary care, and the hope is that by seeing multiple practitioners early on while you have symptoms supports a quicker recovery from your pain.
If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to bring this up with your doctor.
Still have questions for our chiropractor?
Don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Please feel free to contact our clinic at 604-430-1525 or use our contact us form – we will do our best to answer your queries and set up an initial consultation with our chiropractor that’s complimentary.