After a car accident, you may visit a doctor in reaction to certain symptoms or injuries, but it is also common to go before symptoms even appear. In this case, your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to identify where injuries may have occurred and gone unnoticed so far. Auto injury doctors are trained to identify common ailments and injuries even when the victim is not yet reporting symptoms. At your first evaluation, you will likely be checked for a number of injuries. To understand what to expect at your first appointment and what injuries are being considered, read on.
Most visits with auto injury doctors begin with a simple discussion of your medical history and current condition. This will usually include a discussion of the exact circumstances and events that took place during your car accident. Understanding your lifestyle, concerns, and any existing medical conditions or injuries can help direct your evaluation and determine what is or isn’t related to your accident.
Doctors will usually perform a physical examination after discussing your medical history and needs. If they suspect certain injuries, you may be asked to perform certain motions or tasks to see how your body responds. When something else is suspected, you may also be sent for advanced diagnostic imaging like a CT scan or an MRI to capture better images of your internal condition.
All of this information will assist with making a diagnosis and developing a comprehensive treatment plan.
Common Car Accident Injuries
While an auto injury doctor will do a thorough exam, there are a number of injuries and conditions they will be particularly looking for in car accident victims. Below are some of the most common things a doctor will be looking for during your visit.
This can include cuts, bruises, burns, and road rash. While you’ve likely noticed these injuries on your own, a doctor will want to evaluate them to understand where you were injured and what might have happened during the accident. Cuts and bruises may indicate that items in the car became projectiles, while burns would imply fire was present. Road rash would be consistent with being ejected from the vehicle or otherwise coming in contact with the pavement and road. These can usually be treated simply, but provide good information for a doctor on the severity of your condition.
Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries impact the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the body, including strains, sprains, bruises, or tears. These often happen because of the quick and unnatural movements of the body upon impact. One of the most common scenarios is a strain in the tissue around the neck, also known as whiplash. Whiplash is seen often after a car accident and will likely be one of the first things your doctor looks to diagnose. Stiffness and pain in the neck may indicate this is a problem.
The spine is very complex and is susceptible to a number of injuries during a car accident. Herniated discs are a common example, in which the soft gel-like discs between vertebrae are pushed out of place or ruptured, leading to pain and other potential issues. Back injuries are often not obvious immediately after an accident, so an experienced doctor or chiropractor will do a thorough evaluation of your spine to determine its health.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Any blow to the brain can be considered a TBI. In a car accident, this may mean that the head made contact with a part of the car, but it is also possible that the brain jostled so severely that it hit against the skull. Concussions are a common, mild form of TBI that can usually be treated easily, but some brain injuries are very serious and need proper care. Your auto injury doctors may perform simple cognitive function tests to help determine if your brain was impacted during the accident.
Broken Bones or Fractures
Your arms and legs are very likely to break in car accidents, especially when they are used to brace against impact or trapped under a collapsed dashboard. Small fractures may go unnoticed, making x-rays and other imaging important to rule out these issues before they worsen.
Finding a Doctor After an Accident
Here’s what to do after a car accident: your best bet is to find an auto injury doctor who specializes in people who have been through the same thing you have. Rather than focusing on one body part or condition, the team at AICA Atlanta is trained to look for many common conditions and create holistic care plans based on their findings. Whether you are experiencing symptoms or not, contact AICA Atlanta today to schedule your evaluation and begin the recovery process.