Neck Pain After a Car Accident: What Doctor Do I Need To See?

Best doctor after car accident for neck pain
If you’ve never been in an auto accident, you’re either incredibly lucky or long overdue. According to research, the average person has a car crash once every 17.9 years. When a car accident occurs, there’s a good chance you could suffer an injury, like whiplash, that will lead to neck pain. This could leave you wondering “What kind of a doctor do I need for neck pain after an accident?” Don’t worry, we’ve got all the answers you need.

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Immediately After the Accident

Any time you’ve been in an accident, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention right away, even if you don’ feel like you’re injured.

There are a few reasons for this. First, you may have sustained injuries that won’t cause symptoms until a few days have passed. However, a trained doctor could find the damage early and start treating it right away.

Secondly, if the other driver was at fault, you’ll want to document your injuries. If you end up having to pursue legal action down the line, showing that you were diligent about taking care of your health right from the get-go can help support your case.

This also applies if you’re in an accident with your work vehicle or while you’re on the clock. In this case, workers comp may cover your medical expenses but they will also want you to show proof that you received prompt medical care.

Depending on the severity of your accident and the time of day that it occurred, you’ll start off by seeing an:

The right choice depends on your individual circumstances.

Emergency Room

If your injuries are serious, seek emergency treatment right away by calling 911 from the accident scene. Also, if you start to feel worse very quickly after the accident, you should head to the emergency room.

If your accident occurs in the middle of the night, then an emergency room is likely your only option. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to go — even if you don’t feel that you’re dealing with a true emergency. In this case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Urgent Care

If your injuries aren’t life-threatening and an urgent care center is open, this is usually your best treatment option following a vehicle accident. They don’t require an appointment and the hours are also usually longer than those of a primary care physician.

You’ll usually also find shorter wait times and a lower cost than what you’ll end up with after a trip to the emergency room.

 

 

Primary Care Physician

If you’re lucky enough to find that your primary care physician is available to see you right away, then go ahead and go there. The advantage to this is that you’ll be able to see the same doctor throughout your recovery process.

Delayed Onset Pain

Often, pain from a vehicle accident doesn’t happen right away. You might feel completely fine, then, after a few days, you’ll start to experience symptoms like:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Shoulder pain or stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Numbness
  • Changes in personality
  • Changes in your ability to function
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If this happens, it’s important to see a doctor right away. You’ll want to start off with a visit to your primary care physician (PCP). However, it’s not uncommon for a PCP to refer patients to other types of medical specialists for treatment.

For example, if the doctor suspects you might have a concussion, he or she may suggest that you go see a good neurologist for further testing and treatment. Depending on your condition, other doctors you might need to see include a surgeon, psychologist, or an orthopedic specialist.

It’s always important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and see all of the specialists you’re referred to. Not only will this help protect your long-term health, but in the case of a lawsuit, you’ll want to show that you’ve complied with medical advice. Refusing recommended treatment is one of the many reasons an insurance company might use to try to get out of paying your claim.

Chronic Pain

Unfortunately, pain following a car accident – especially whiplash neck pain — can linger for months or even years. When it lasts for more than three months, pain is categorized as “chronic.” Chronic pain can seriously impact your life and can cause changes in your:

  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Emotions
  • Hormones
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Brain

The constant stress created by chronic pain increases your blood pressure and heart rate and can lower your immune system. For these reasons, it’s important that you don’t simply accept your pain as your new reality. If you’re not back to 100% after your car accident, you’ll need to continue seeking medical treatment.

While there’s a good chance you’ll continue to see your primary care physician and some of the specialists mentioned above, you may also decide to consult with different types of medical specialists.

Sometimes, physical therapy after a car accident is helpful for getting over chronic pain. You may also choose to see a chiropractor, a pain-management doctor, or seek holistic treatment like massage or acupuncture.

One thing that’s worth mentioning is that if you choose to see different types of doctors, it’s important to keep communication open. Make sure each professional knows which other doctors you are seeing and what types of treatments you’re receiving.

This will help ensure that you don’t receive any treatments that could interact in a way that either makes one ineffective or creates an adverse reaction. When all of your medical professionals work together you’ll have the best chances for making a full recovery.

“What Kind of a Doctor Do I Need for Neck Pain?” Now You Know!

Now that you know the answer to the question “What kind of a doctor do I need for neck pain after a car accident?” you have what you need to make sure you get the very best treatment possible.

The next question you’ll likely have is “How do I find the best doctors near me?” At InjuredCallToday, we make it easy! Call 1-800-897-8400 to find an experienced auto accident doctor near you today. No-Fault and PIP insurance are accepted, and same-day appointments may be available. Don’t delay, call today and get the help you deserve.