Dizziness, weakness, etc after a rear end car accident
I was rear ended in a car accident 3 weeks ago. I wasn't moving that fast when it happened, and me and the other driver were able to drive away after we got the police report.
But a week later I woke up with severe pain in my neck, right shoulder and some numbness in my right hand. So I saw my GP that evening. He prescribed a prescription anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant to take as needed and suggested I start seeing a chiropractor or physical therapy.
I knew of a good chiro so I started seeing him. He did a pretty thorough physical at my 1st appointment and said I had neck sprain and muscle strain and should try and see him twice a week for awhile. I have been back once since and will see him at least once a week.
Between the meds and the chiro my pain has not been bad, but I have started having days of pretty bad and continuous dizziness, light headed, and kind of sick to my stomach (which is very unusual for me). My first day of this was this past Saturday. Then it started again yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and is still going on. If anything its worse today that as soon as I stand up and start walking around I start feeling true vertigo with the room spinning and even more nauseous.
I called my GP this morning, told them what's going on, and their next appointment is Monday evening which I took.
My biggest concern is I don't feel I have any real understanding why this is happening, or which type of Dr/specialist to see who might be able to help me?
I'll do what I need to do, but I want to see the right type of person who can help me. I have 2 young children, a husband who has to travel sometimes for his job, and no other family around to help. And its unpredictable at this point when the dizzyness will hit, if I can drive or not. So its going to be hard to get rides if I need them, and I would rather not waste that on appointments that won't do any good.
Any advice appreciated.
Hi Jennifer, Michelle here...
Thanks for writing and including so much information. So far you have followed the initial steps I would have recommended to my patients: see a General Practitioner MD, and see a chiropractor...
Let me do my best to give you a bit of information and I will do my best to recommend who to see next, in hopes any or all of it helps.
Medication can often make you feel worse. Muscle relaxants are notorious for making people feel ill, dizzy and out of sorts. You are not supposed to drive while taking them either. So, without knowing how often you are taking them, I would tell you they do not cure what ails you, they are designed to help you manage some of the pain. If you are able to manage without muscle relaxants, you will likely feel a little better.
In addition anti-inflammatory meds are extremely hard on the stomach and must be taken with food, always. Prescription anti-inflammatories are very strong, even over the counter anti-inflammatory pills make folks nauseous, so eat first, more than say just a cracker, and then take your anti-inflammatory... for most people this simple step helps immensely with the nauseousness...
Ok, so seeing a chiropractor is one of the best things you can do for the type of injury you have, however one treatment is not nearly enough to help you. You really will need multiple treatments to start finding relief from the pain in your body. If after evaluating you, the chiropractor recommended 2 a week, I would say 2x a week is essential.
Now, dizziness, and vertigo can be caused by a number of things:
1. Mild concussion, fairly common in car accidents, the brain hits the inside of the skull, and you can have some mild bruising, and or some symptoms that are related to this impact. The only cure is rest and then, more rest.
Being a full time parent I understand that the opportunity for rest is unlikely, but do try to rest as often as you can, no exercise, no staying up late, naps whenever you can, go as easy as is possible (I am not being naive at how much is on your plate, just suggesting going easy)...
2. Your neck injury can also contribute to all the feelings of vertigo/nauseousness that you have. So, go into your chiropractor tell him you are having alot of difficult symptoms and ask him if they are related to your neck injury or if he feels its time to see a neurologist.
He will know the next best step for you to take. His exam of you will have given him enough information to have formed a medical opinion on where the vertigo and dizziness are coming from....
The chiropractor will know the right doctor for you to see as the chiropractor will have had many patients who have had these symptoms before and will know how to help you.
So, the short answer is: more treatment straight-away with the chiropractor, let him guide your treatment. If he has nothing to offer then do head back to your GP, and your GP will help you find the next best solution.
Generally I would hold off on Physical therapy until you are much further along in your healing process. Often at this stage, the very beginning after a car accident, physical therapy is painful, and you will not feel you are making progress. I have found it can slow the healing time down.
In a few months from now, physical therapy will be just right.
Hope all this helps!