Healthy Miami Magazine

Healing From A Car Accident: A Whole Body Approach

Our bodies are magnificent machines, their design capable of spectacular physical achievements–mountaineering, endurance running, giving birth–and yet we remain surprisingly vulnerable to the world around us. Car accident injuries are a potent reminder of this fragility. With the physical aftermath ranging from soft tissue damage to severe spinal injuries, many people suffer through years of chronic pain and invasive medical treatments before finding relief, if at all.

These types of car accident injuries are something we have been seeing more and more of at the Acupuncture Centers of South Florida. Often the cast-offs of other practitioners who have, for one reason or another, failed to deliver significant improvement in pain management; or those who have exhausted their benefits and, as a result, have been told they would have to live with their pain forever–by the time many of these patients find their way to us, they are desperate and exhausted. For these people, sometimes we are the “last resort.” The final destination in their long, now dispirited journey to recovery. Whatever the impetus for seeking us out, we fully believe that the healing process begins the moment a person steps through our door.

Although it seems like overstating the obvious, we are keen to point out that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and other complementary therapies are not equipped to deal with severe trauma. But beyond the emergency rooms and immediate physical damage, the therapies we employ can be highly effective for dealing with chronic pain and other long-term injuries that often result from auto accidents. In helping our patients recover we apply a combination of stretch therapy, myofascial release therapy, acupuncture and cupping, even rehabilitational fitness, to our treatment programs. Working with patients over time, we pay attention to what therapies they respond to best and work to provide as much immediate pain relief as possible.

To paint a picture of a common scenario, one of our more recent arrivals was an active 40-something year-old man who had been hit by a car while on a bicycle some months prior. Suffering from significant shoulder injuries, he was in an excruciating amount of pain. Not enthusiastic about the options presented to him by his physicians–endure major SLAP-TEAR surgery, or, lifelong chronic pain–he sought us out to provide a less invasive treatment plan. Lucky to have some of his treatments covered by workers’ compensation, he was able to begin acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and manual therapy for his injuries immediately. Within a month he began to notice a significant reduction in pain and six months later not only had he foregone the surgery, he was pain free.

One of the more interesting side effects of working with car injury patients has been successfully alleviating their peripheral conditions at the same time. These are issues that did not result from the car accident itself, but are often exacerbating their symptoms and injuries. A recent example was a woman who initially came to us for car injuries, but who also suffered from severe PMS and painful menstrual periods. During her cycles she found herself dealing with pain from both conditions, which had become overwhelming. After a few acupuncture treatments where we treated both maladies, as well as utilizing herbal remedies, not only did her severe menstrual pain subside but so did the pain from her car accident injuries.

After treating a number of patients dealing with the consequences of an auto accident, we long ago realized that treatment is not one-size-fits-all. By taking a whole body approach to recovery, including their emotional and psychological health, we can treat, monitor, and empower patients to regain their lives and return to the joy of a pain-free existence.