Screeching tires, crumpling metal, shattering glass and the smell of burning parts …. these immediately bring to mind the scene of a car wreckage or worse a pile up. Being in a car wreck can send shudders down the spines of the strongest of us. Along with monetary damages auto accidents can be very traumatic, physically as well as mentally.
One never knows what the shock of a vehicle collision can do to you. Some car accident injuries are not obvious right away. As a result of the trauma of the car accident, the body reflexively produces hormones called endorphins, which act as painkillers. Because of the shock of the accident and the production of endorphins, one might not realize right away that he or she has been injured if it’s not a visible external injury. Though your body may seem comfortable immediately after or you may think your injuries aren't very serious symptoms such as pain, discomfort, dizziness, or numbness may appear after a few days. A general body check-up to see how the body is handling the tension, stress and gush of adrenaline after the accident will do you well. This is one time when you don’t want to postpone visiting the doctor.
Vehicular accidents cause many different injuries to various parts of the body depending on the conditions of the crash and the severity of the impact. The injuries can include simple abrasions or lacerations, bruises to small fractures and major head injuries. The most common auto-accident injuries include brain and head injuries, neck injuries or sprains like whiplash (the head jerks forward and backward very quickly causing neck sprain or a whiplash injury), jaw injuries, cervical bone dislocations, shoulder injuries like torn rotator cuff, bursitis, tendonitis, dislocations, spinal disc injuries, fractured ribs, fractured bones and joints etc.1,2 One visit to an orthopedic surgeon after an accident can help keep a bad situation from turning into a worse one.
An orthopedic surgeon specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions relating to the musculoskeletal system i.e. the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles. There are multiple branches of orthopedics. These surgeons are specialists in stitching back and resetting bones, and rebuilding muscular tissues internally. An orthopedic surgeon is one of the best people to visit after an auto wreck given that most injuries that occur involve muscles, bones or joints.
With the help of advanced tools and technology of imaging e.g. X-ray, MRI, CT Scan etc. an orthopedic surgeon can determine the precise extent of the injuries and choose the most appropriate method to treat them. In case of any emergency, they can immediately provide the requisite medical care. The treatment depends on the injury and the condition of the body. It may include methods ranging from immediate pain management to orthopedic surgeries. Quoting the old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’; medically speaking this can be taken quite literally!
Penned by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD