Auto Accident Recovery

Let us help you heal after an auto accident injury
  • You are covered

Oregon insurance policies cover your care from any licensed primary care provider. You can choose who you want to see. Dr. Bourland has helped hundreds of people with injuries from auto accidents in his 30 years in practice.

  • Even minor accidents can cause major injuries

Studies have shown that the amount of damage to a vehicle bears little relationship to the amount of force applied to the occupants. Injuries may remain hidden and pain may be delayed for several weeks or even months after an accident. Getting treatment quickly will put you on the path to pain relief.

  • Get care soon

Your health and future comfort depend upon getting safe, effective treatment as soon after the injury as possible. Emergency rooms and medical doctors may not be trained to find and treat these hidden injuries.

  • Our goal is to return you to pre-injury status or as close as possible

Recent studies following groups of patients that have been in rear end auto accidents have shown that six months after the accident, two years after the accident, and beyond the two year time period, 44 percent of the patients were still having significant pain patterns. Follow up x-rays and MRI scans also document that degenerative changes had started to develop during these time periods. The best recommendation is that, even if you think you are not injured, it is best to be evaluated to determine if soft tissue trauma has occurred. If healing is completed in the wrong position it is very difficult to reverse the process of chronic degenerative changes.

Information on the effects of auto accidents from the desk of Dr. Bourland

The greatest injury that can precipitate chronic lifetime problems is the rear end collision. The inertia of energy as it passes through the vehicle into the occupant creates an S shaped curvature in the spine in a matter of 50-75 milliseconds after the initiation of the acceleration. In modern automobiles the crumple zones are designed to absorb energy and leave the passenger compartment intact. The net result is that, in low impact collisions, the energy of the collision transfers to the occupants with no apparent injury to the vehicle. The observations are that there is no direct relationship between vehicle damage and occupant injury.

Occupant’s age and overall health have a dramatic effect on how well their ligaments and muscles withstand these types of injuries. Testing with high speed cameras has shown that rear end collisions at as little as two and a half miles per hour have resulted in lesions, muscle tears, disc tears, and fractures to the zygapofageal joints, leading to chronic degenerative changes. It is important to note that in low velocity impacts soft tissue is seldom torn completely; it is most likely stretched beyond its elastic limit, resulting in an incomplete injury. This alters its mechanical properties, resulting in scar tissue, loss of elasticity, and creating great instability in the individual joints of the cervical spine.

Studies have also shown that the human spinal column, devoid of muscle function, is incapable of carrying the loads normally imposed on it. For example, without muscles the spine will buckle with only 1/5 to 1/4 of the weight of the human head on it. This is another reason why early treatment is critical to reduce the potential of a chronic weakness when ligaments and muscles are injured in rear end collisions.

Normal healing time for most injuries to our bodies is approximately 8-10 weeks. At eight weeks following a low speed rear end collision people oftentimes do not report subjective complaints or pain. Despite this, the tensile strength of the ligaments and muscles has been so harmed that if proper treatment does not occur soon enough the tissues will heal in the wrong position with laxness in the ligaments and muscles, and subjective complaints will develop in the months and years following.

As addressed earlier, these rear end collisions produce an energy that causes an S shaped curvature in the cervical spine in approximately 50-75 milliseconds. Testing has indicated that it takes approximately 200 milliseconds to develop sufficient muscle force to limit motion, by which time the injury has already taken place. Our brains cannot transfer to the muscles the necessary contraction fast enough to avoid a certain amount of trauma.

One’s posture and head position at the time of impact are of great importance. There are literally millions of human postures that will vary the tensile strength of ligaments in the body. Head angles and the differences of thickness of collagen fibers from person to person are some factors affecting posture. A person’s age, nutritional deficit, and pre-existing spinal misalignments all impact and affect the development of chronic degenerative change in the cervical spine.


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