Whiplash injuries appear to be some of the most common injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision or accident, yet examination at an ER or an outpatient clinic afterwards seems to be quite inconsistent with regards the use of X-ray and imaging. Perhaps there are no advantages to an X-ray of this type? Our Lacey Olympia chiropractor explains more.
Published guidelines regarding motor vehicle accidents and patients who appear in ER suggests that if the person is awake, does not feel any pain or discomfort in the neck area and has full range of motion, most likely will not be given any x-rays or imaging. If a fracture or other injury is suspected, then it is common for some form of imaging to take place to rule out or examine the injury.
While fracture of the neck is quite rare in accidents, some ERs do routinely do imaging to rule out issues of trauma to the neck. Other ERs try to find the balance between providing optimum care but limiting the use of such imaging equipment in a bid to provide efficient care to all.
The Canadian C-Spine Rule for example, suggests all people over the age of 65 and have significant issues, should receive X-rays and imaging, but those patients who are younger and without any neck pain, then the x-rays are not needed.
In the US, however, more than 800,000 patients receive an x-ray for their back and neck every year. The costs associated with this (in excess of $175 million each year) really negate the need for use of x-rays for this type of injury, particularly as most of these x-rays show nothing wrong.
At the end of the day, the ER does a fantastic job of ensuring the patient has no broken bones and ensuring the conditions are not life threatening, but when it comes to whiplash injuries, that is not a chief concern. As a consequence, it is very important to see a chiropractor after any accident to be treated for whiplash injuries because they can form at even low impact speeds. Many whiplash injuries also do not manifest until a while later, perhaps even beyond any insurance claim has been filed and completed. Thus, it is important to be checked for all injuries as soon as possible in order for everything to be documented properly, but more importantly to be treated and healed sooner rather than later.
If you have been involved in an accident past or present and you haven’t been checked for whiplash, come on in. We have been dealing with whiplash injuries for many years and can help. Whether you have received an x-ray or not, you should be treated.