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Posted on 11-04-2013

Phases of Healing Following Baltimore Auto Accidents

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that routinely provides Baltimore auto accident treatment for patients injured in Baltimore auto accidents, I am often asked how long I will treat any given patient for. That is, from day 1 being "the accident" and day "x" being release from therapy, how long will it take?

It's a complicated question and one that really does depend on the specifics of the injury. What types of vehicles were involved in the crash? What was the mechanism of injury? What about patient factors (age, weight, pre-injury health status, previous injures, etc.)? Are the patients smokers? Drinkers? Diabetics?

The answer that I generally give is: I don't know how long it will take. I inform patients that healing occurs both inside and outside of my office and will CONTINUE even after I dismiss the patient from care. That is, I don't need to be actively treating an injured individual for them to continue to heal. More importantly, most patients don't realize that just because they feel better and I release them they are not yet "back to normal." They are still healing and their tissues will be healing for up 24 months.

So how do I know this? Its all in the research...

In 1988 the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons publish a paper that researched how long it takes soft tissues such as ligaments to fully heal. Here is a link to their research paper for those who care to read it.

They determined that there are three phases of healing:

1. Phase 1: Acute inflammation: First 0-72 hours. Microscopic swelling, blood pools to injured areas, focal inflammation and immobilization. (Think about how stiff your neck is immediately following a Baltimore auto accident)

2. Phase 2: Repair Phase (6-8 weeks). Inflammation decreases and new repair tissue is deposited. New collagen is deposited on top of injured tissue and begins to integrate itself into the tissue matrix, albeit haphazardly.

3. Phase 3: Remodeling Phase (from 8 weeks to 2 years!). This is the phase that most people are unaware of or choose to ignore. The newly deposited collagen tissue is stressed and put under tension so as to properly align with old collagen tissue. This is why chiropractors and physical therapists perform active exercises for injured areas that are painless. It allows the muscles and tendons to heal in the proper orientation. This is also the reason why patients that are released pain free in this phase and get involved in a second Baltimore auto accident shortly thereafter usually feel like they are "back to square one" after a second crash.

Many insurance companies that pay for Baltimore auto accident therapy following a Baltimore auto accident injury would have you believe that you should be "healed" following 8 weeks of therapy. This misinformation is not supported by scientific research or my clinic experience.

If you, or someone you know, has been involved in a Baltimore auto accident and require Baltimore auto accident therapy, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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