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Should I See a Medical Doctor or a Chiropractor After an Accident?

Conventional wisdom holds that people hurt in personal injury accidents should seek medical attention as soon as possible. But what does that really mean? If you are injured in an accident where someone else is to blame, should you see a physician? Or should you see a chiropractor?

Immediate vs. ongoing treatment

In the immediate aftermath of a serious accident, victims are usually transported to the Emergency Room at the closest hospital. In a worst-case scenario, first res-ponders will have the victim airlifted to a regional trauma center. In either situation, physicians and nurses rely on their skill and available equipment/technology to make critical diagnoses and provide necessary treatment.

Then there are cases where accident victims seek medical treatment on their own. Its safe to assume that where they go is a matter of personal choice. However, national data shows that physician’s offices and hospital Emergency Departments are the destinations of choice for millions.

The type and extent of the injury or injuries generally dictate the need for any ongoing treatment. The type and extent of injury or injuries usually dictates the type of ongoing treatment as well. Again, personal preference may also play a part in this decision and if appropriate, the patient may choose chiropractic at this point. It is more likely the patient will choose this option if they have had prior chiropractic treatment.

Legal limitations on chiropractic treatment in California

All chiropractors must be licensed to practice in California. With certain exceptions, a licensed chiropractor can legally:

  • Maneuver and adjust the spinal column and other human joints
  • Maneuver associated muscle and connective tissue
  • Use certain elements and processes (such as cold, diet, exercise, heat, light, massage, ultrasound, and physical therapy techniques)in the course of chiropractic treatment
  • Treat any condition, disease, or injury in any patient, and make a diagnosis, as long as necessary processes “do not constitute the practice of medicine by exceeding the legal scope of chiropractic practice” as prescribed by law.
  • Use X-ray and infrared cameras to make diagnoses, but not for treatment.
  • Use ultrasound equipment for diagnosis of neuromuscular skeletal ailments/injuries.

However, it is illegal for licensed Los Angeles-area chiropractors to do surgery or any other procedure involving the penetration or cutting of human tissue (including cutting the umbilical cord). Chiropractors licensed in California are also prohibited from practicing dentistry, optometry, or delivering babies.The use of prescription drugs or medicines in chiropractic treatment and the use of devices used to treat kidney stones are banned as well. Finally, licensed chiropractors are not allowed to do an ultrasound on a fetus for any reason, or perform a mammography.

Benefits of chiropractic treatment after personal injury accidents

To be fair, some patients may benefit from chiropractic treatment after initial diagnosis and treatment. This is because licensed chiropractors, or “doctors of chiropractic” have the training and skills needed to identify and treat soft tissue and spinal injuries.

Furthermore, chiropractic may eliminate the need for surgery or other invasive procedures. That means the patient will likely have less scar tissue, less inflammation, and greater ease of movement. Because chiropractors cannot prescribe them, patients will be less likely to develop a reliance on painkillers for the relief of their symptoms.

With all of that being stated, you should be aware that some people are wary of chiropractic treatment. This is most likely because they have never had chiropractic treatment, or they don’t understand it. Many people are generally skeptical about anything other than conventional medicine. Although it is unlikely, this skepticism may come into play if your personal injury case goes to trial.

Another thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies also tend to be skeptical of chiropractic treatment. More specifically, they tend to be skeptical about billing for chiropractic treatment. This may be because chiropractors are known to schedule multiple treatments per week, and continue treatment longer than mainstream healthcare providers. As a result, they may be reluctant to approve billing for ongoing chiropractic treatment, or settle your personal injury case for fair value.

Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys always respect your choices

No matter which type of medical treatment you prefer, the personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C will always fight to get the optimal outcome in your case. To learn more, about how we can help you obtain compensation for your physical, financial and non-economic losses, contact us through our website or give us a call. The legal team here at Law PLA looks forward to hearing from you.


PLEASE NOTE: This is not a representation, warranty, or guarantee of a future result or outcome. Every case is different just like every one of our clients.