Should you go to the doctor's after a car accident?
Obviously, if you are in a lot of pain go to the emergency room
If, after a car accident you are experiencing severe pain, then get to the emergency room ASAP.
Emergency rooms treat a variety of illnesses and trauma related injuries. The attending physician's job is to diagnose and treat the patients the best they can. They will usually check to see if there are any broken bones by performing x-rays/CT-scans.
Soft tissue injuries may be diagnosed at the ER, but they are rarely treated. So as long as you haven't broken any bones, have lacerations or bruising, they usually recommend taking some over the counter pain medication and/or prescription drugs, heat and ice applications, stretching, rest and to follow up with your primary physician if your symptoms persists.
It may be difficult to get in and see a doctor immediately, and so the ER is a practical way to be seen by a doctor without an appointment. Urgent Care facilities also can provide you with the immediate care you need and are a great option for the cases where it isn't quite and emergency but you need to see a doctor right away.
So you have no broken bones, but you are still in pain, now what?
Many times, car accident victims may have not broken any bones but are still in pain. These are commonly soft tissue injuries. A soft tissue injury is the damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, a one off blow resulting in a contusion or overuse of a particular part of the body.
Treatment for soft tissue injuries vary depending on the type and severity of the injury, location, and previous treatments. Most of the time, conservative medical care is recommended first, before any more aggressive care is undertaken. Typically, conservative care for auto accident related soft tissue injuries consists of chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage therapy.
If, during the conservative treatment the doctors notice that the patient is not responding well to treatment and/or the patient's symptoms suggest certain medical conditions, the doctor may order an MRI of the affected area. An MRI is a great tool to see and diagnose soft tissue injuries.