How to avoid an auto injury

Auto injuries

It’s that time of year again when we start seeing more whiplash cases from motor vehicle collisions in the clinic. Regardless of how much damage is done to the vehicle, crashes often cause significant spinal pain, limited range of motion, and tight, sore muscles. These injuries can be stubborn healers, too, frequently taking longer than the standard 4-6 weeks for a broken bone to heal. In the hundreds of these cases that I have personally treated, I have learned a few tips on what situations to avoid on the road to reduce my chances of being in a collision. Here is a list of some of the most common ways my motor vehicle injury patients have been injured. My hope is that it will help you stay out of harm’s way and out of my office!

1. Dead stop: The majority of my whiplash patients have been rear-ended while at a complete stop. Granted, sometimes it is because they stop abruptly, however, more often than not they have been stopped for some time when they are hit by somebody who isn’t paying attention. Keep an eye on your rear view mirror when stopping to make sure the person behind you is slowing to a stop as well.

2. “Suicide” lane: There is a reason the middle turn lane has been given this moniker. Avoid it whenever possible, because it can be entered by cars from either direction without warning. Some people will enter this lane when turning from a side street while they wait to merge into the far lane. I choose to wait until there is enough of a clearing that I can just cross right over into the far lane and not become a sitting duck in the middle turn lane.

3. Traffic jam: Do you remember what the recommended following distance is for driving on the freeway? If you’re like me, it’s been a long time since your driver’s test, so I’ll remind you. For good conditions, leave 2 seconds between you and the car in front of you. For poor weather conditions or night driving, leave 4 seconds. For major inclement weather such as snow, fog, or ice, you should leave 6 seconds between you and the car you follow. If you spend any time on the freeways in and around Portland, you know that traffic can slow down or stop VERY abruptly, so don’t ignore this guidance.

4. Look both ways…more than once: A lot of auto injuries occur from collisions with cross traffic. When entering a busy road, double and triple check traffic in both directions. And please make sure you have plenty of space to enter the lane. You can’t be too careful in this scenario.

Whiplash and other auto-related injuries are a serious problem and should not go untreated. If you or a loved one has recently been in an auto accident, contact us with any questions you may have or to schedule a consultation.

Is your chiropractic care “patient-centered?”

Doctor greating patient

There is no question that healthcare is changing. For better or worse, the way in which your medical treatment is overseen and delivered is getting an overhaul. One of the concepts that is being used as a guide throughout this process is called “patient-centered care.” One definition of this type of care is given by the Institute of Medicine: “Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions (Institute of Medicine. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century.

I’ve been pondering this concept of patient-centered healthcare lately and reflecting on how we treat our patients at Catalyst. What I have found helpful to gain insight into how my clinic can be more patient-centered is to listen to what my patients have told me about their past experiences with chiropractors. In my time as a chiropractic physician I have heard things from my patients that concern me. From what I have gathered from their experiences, here is a list of questions to ask yourself about whether you are getting patient-centered chiropractic care or not:

  1. Does your doctor spend more time listening or talking?
  2. Does your doctor consider your “preferences, needs, and values” in decisions about your care?
  3. Does your doctor spend enough time with you?
  4. Are you given different options for your treatment?
  5. Do you ever feel like you’re in more of a sales presentation than a health consultation?
  6. Are you asked to pay a large sum of money up front for multiple treatments, like you’re purchasing a tanning package?Does the phrase “easy financing options” come up during your consultation?

By no means is this list all-inclusive, nor do I claim that our clinic is perfectly patient-centered (we do close early on Fridays, afterall), but consumers these days need to be smart and know that they have rights. If you don’t feel right about your care, ask yourself if you feel that your doctor is considering your “preferences, needs, and values.” If not, it’s time to have a frank conversation with them to hold them accountable for honoring your needs.

Like I said above, I don’t claim to run a perfectly altruistic, patient-centered practice, but there are some things I can promise you should you choose to become a patient at Catalyst Chiropractic and Rehabilitation:

  1. You will receive ample one on one time with Dr. Thompson
  2. You will not receive any high pressure sales pitches
  3. You will not be asked to pay large sums of money up front
  4. Your needs and values WILL be considered in your care!

Yours in health,

Dr. Thompson

Photo credit: Photographer – Zsolt Nyulaszi. Copyright © Zsolt Nyulaszi. All rights reserved.