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Auto Accident Recovery

Seemingly minor musculoskeletal aches and pains experienced after an auto accident can be warning signs of serious underlying orthopedic injuries. A visit to an orthopedic doctor who specializes in auto accident recovery can help accurately diagnose your condition and rule out any serious injury that might not be immediately apparent after the accident. 

Why You Should Seek Immediate Treatment After an Auto Accident 

Some of the important reasons for seeking immediate treatment are: 

  • Putting off treatment can make the injury worse and difficult to treat
  • You might have more out of pocket expenses by delaying treatment
  • Low-impact auto accidents may cause serious injuries such as damage to the neck and lower back that causes delayed symptoms
  • You might be eligible for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance benefits if you seek treatment within the stipulated time period after the auto accident

Importance of Orthopedic Consultation for Auto Accident Recovery

Emergency medical treatment can be provided by a general physician; however, injuries to the soft tissues that cause delayed symptoms might not be accurately diagnosed resulting in a slower recovery. A thorough evaluation of your musculoskeletal system by an experienced orthopedic doctor will ensure you receive appropriate treatment for injuries to the bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles. 

Additionally, orthopedic injuries sustained because of an auto accident such as complex fractures are time-sensitive and require immediate intervention by an orthopedic specialist to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

Auto Accident Symptoms

The onset of symptoms may be immediate or delayed depending on the severity of the auto accident and type of injury. Common auto accident symptoms include:

  • Headache and generalized muscle soreness
  • Pain in the spine or other parts of the body
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Swelling or deformity at the site of injury 
  • A grinding or popping sensation in the injured joint
  • Loss of mobility in an arm or leg
  • Inability to lift an object or perform activities of daily living

Types of Auto Accident Injuries 

Common auto accident injuries include: 

  • Whiplash Injury: This injury is usually caused by the abrupt snapping of the head and neck which typically occurs in a rear-end collision. It can result in damage to the cervical vertebrae, the nerve roots exiting this region, the intervertebral discs, and the neck muscles.
  • Bone Fractures: Fractures of the collar bones, arms, legs, face, extremities, and other bones in the body are common with high-speed collisions. Thinning of the bone due to osteoporosis in the elderly can also cause bones to break easily with relatively minor auto accidents.
  • Broken Ribs: They can occur due to chest trauma from the accident. The sharp ends of a broken rib can sever blood vessels or puncture nearby organs such as the lungs, liver, kidney, and spleen causing serious injury. 
  • Knee Fracture: Knee fractures lead to loss of motion and function. They can damage the surrounding soft tissues including skin, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments.
  • Spine Trauma: Spine trauma can cause damage to the vertebrae, the discs between the vertebrae, the spinal nerves or the ligaments of the spinal cord. You may experience changes in sensation, strength, and other body functions.
  • Scrapes and Cuts: Scrapes and cuts are usually minor and heal with time. Sometimes deeper cuts may need stitches to prevent bleeding and infection.

Diagnosis of Auto Accident Injuries

Auto accident injuries may not always be apparent and therefore should be evaluated by an orthopedic expert as soon as possible after the accident. After discussing the accident and your symptoms, your doctor will perform a physical examination and may order X-rays to check for hidden fractures. If internal soft tissue injuries are suspected, your doctor may order a CT scan, MRI scan, or other advanced diagnostic tests.

Treatment for Auto Accident Recovery

Treatment of auto accident injuries will depend on the type and severity of the injury. This can range from nonsurgical treatments such as medications and physical therapy for minor injuries, regenerative medicine treatments for tendon injuries, ligament and joint reconstruction procedures for severe traumatic injuries, and post-operative house calls and rehabilitation to ensure your speedy recovery.


  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • Athe American College of Surgeons
  • American Shoulder And Elbow Surgeons