Finding one caretaker among many specialists

by Marie
(Port Jefferson, NY)

Had an auto accident the end of August. LOC- car totaled front and rear damage. Level 3 concussion. I'm seeing an MD concussion specialist, a neurologist, Orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist. All give me their own timelines which often conflict with each other. Why can't there be one person "in charge?" At this point I have been out of work continuously for more than 6 weeks with no end in sight.

Hi there, Michelle here...

Yes you bring up a common situation! The short answer is that most patients end up being their own specialist because they are the ones going to every appointment and hearing every opinion...

And of course it seems that it should not be the patient because the patient is new to this and doesn’t know the ins and outs of the different parts of this puzzle...

Each specialist that you are seeing has spent years studying and mastering their own very specific area of the body...a concussion specialist masters everything that is available to know and understand about the brain, what a tremendous asset to have on your team!

But likely knows very little at all about whiplash and back pain!

Your body and the different injuries you have will each heal at different rates. A brain injury can take up to a year for you to feel things are mostly back to normal. This can be very different based on age, and previous brain trauma, which areas of the brain were injured, etc.

Likewise with soft tissue. The soft tissue takes a long time to heal. You don’t mention which areas of your body were injured?

Because you are seeing medical specialists (orthopedic and MD) you were likely referred straight away to physical therapy.

However, since you wrote in for my opinion, this is it...

Physical therapy at the start of an injury cycle can cause a lot of pain, and often patients find they heal better with physical therapy later in the healing cycle. Say at the 6 month mark - not the first month.

Further, I also see that you have no chiropractor listed for medical care?

If you have that severe of a concussion you most certainly have severe whiplash. It’s important to seek out chiropractic care to address the severe whiplash. You will find that as your neck and back start to have less pain, you will start to feel tremendously different.

Whiplash is painful, fatiguing, and causes a host of other symptoms which all interfere with the quality of your daily life. Direct treatment to your neck and back is very important.

Ok, I hear you yelling at the computer .. . how can advice to have one more medical provider treat you be helpful when you are already overwhelmed by how many cooks are in your proverbial kitchen?

I understand, I really really do, I am not missing the bigger question.

I would be remiss however if I didn’t give you real advice to help with the pain and get you out of a cycle of feeling you are making no progress.

For the type of concussion you have been diagnosed with, you had to have been hit very hard. I have a page you may have missed, which will give you more information on how long you can expect to be in pain and when you should start seeing progress.

I think this page will help a lot. How Long Will I be In Pain?

The answer is there is no answer. None of your specialists are specialists in the other areas of your body that are injured, and so none of the doctors you are working with will take the risk of being “in charge” of an area of your body they have not specialized in.

Have you seen an attorney? Often attorneys who deal with car accident injuries will have a lot of experience with the many different medical professionals as they have helped many other of their clients through these situations. Often your attorney will be invaluable to helping you manage your care. (I know how strange this sounds, but it is the case).

If you don’t yet have an attorney, you need one. If you need an idea of who to speak with, this form on the site will help.

There is no charge nor obligation for seeking advice from an attorney. But I would not go forward in a case like yours without one.

New York

I sure wish there was a clearer answer, a number you could call for an advocate to take your case and manage it all!

Best Regards, M.

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