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What to Do in the Hours After a Car Accident

June 3, 2016

Recognizing symptoms of whiplash, back pain, and other common auto injuries

car accident

After a car accident, things can feel chaotic. You may be dealing with stress and pain, and it’s hard to know what to do.

In the United States, one out of every three car accidents results in an injury. Some injuries are painful right away; others take hours, days, or even months to appear.

If you’ve recently been in an accident, you may have injuries you’re not aware of yet. This post will help you understand your options and decide what to do.

1. Understand Your Insurance

First, don’t let insurance concerns stop you from getting the treatment you need.

Oregon is a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) state. That means, if you live in Oregon, personal injury protection is part of your auto insurance coverage. All Oregon auto insurance policies include PIP insurance to cover related medical expenses for the first year after your accident and up to your policy limit.

You’re eligible for PIP insurance regardless of whether you were at fault or not.

Photo: Roberta Romero

2. Assess Your Injuries

If your accident happened today, it can be hard to tell how serious your injuries are. If you suspect you have urgent or life-threatening injuries, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

In the hours, days, and even months after your accident, be aware of how your body feels. Look for the following symptoms as a sign of injury:

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or lower back
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Burning sensations or "pins and needles"
  • Pain or numbness in the arm or hand
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression and/or irritability
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration

Whiplash is one of the most common auto accident injuries, but many people don’t know that whiplash can affect more than your neck. Although neck pain is a common symptom, whiplash can also pull the long muscles that run down either side of your spine and all the way to your tailbone. This can result in back pain, as well as pain in your shoulders, arms, or legs, and sometimes other areas of your body.

The stress factor. Keep in mind that being in an accident is stressful physically, mentally, and emotionally. The emotional trauma of an accident can make it difficult for your body to relax, recover, and heal.

3. Seek Medical Attention

The fact that some injuries (including whiplash injuries) don’t show up right away, can make it difficult to decide when and if to get medical treatment.

Keep in mind that any type of pain or body ache after a car accident is a sign that your body has suffered damage. Even low-speed accidents can cause serious long-term injuries that require immediate treatment.

The most common mistake people make in auto injury cases is not seeking treatment right away only to see their condition get worse.

That’s why we offer same-day appointments for car accident injuries at Urban Wellness Group.

4. Know Your Treatment Options

In Oregon, your PIP insurance can cover a wide variety of treatments, including holistic and naturopathic options.

After a car accident, you might consider the following natural treatments:


Chiropractic care has proven especially effective in treating soft tissue injuries and muscle problems associated with whiplash. It includes:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Muscle stimulation or relaxation
  • Spinal adjustments
  • Muscle tension and pain relief


Acupuncture has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health as an effective method for treating many kinds of pain and discomfort, including:

  • Whiplash
  • Back and neck pain
  • Anxiety and stress resulting from a car accident


A massage can be a healing experience after a traumatic accident. It can help speed up your body’s natural healing process by increasing the flow of oxygen to the injured tissues. A massage can help with:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Emotional distress

Photo: Nick Webb


At a holistic clinic like Urban Wellness Group, your doctor might prescribe additional treatments like herbal medicine, lumbar support, or cervical pillows. These are all completely covered by your insurance.

Get the Treatment You Need

At Urban Wellness Group, we don’t just treat you and send you on your way. We’re here to listen to you and help you through the difficult and often confusing process of getting treatment and dealing with insurance claims after an auto accident.

If you’re ready to get same-day, no-cost treatment for your auto injury, call Urban Wellness Group at (503) 476-9651 or contact us online.

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