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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Don’t Let Accident Pain Become Chronic: Addressing pain from car accidents quickly is the key to preventing longer-term complications, says Dr. Boris Schwartz

May 31, 2015 01:54PM ● By Dr. Boris Schwartz

Automobile accidents happen all the time, and many victims endure lasting pain. The pain can be classified as acute or chronic. By definition, chronic pain occurs after six months of acute pain. For example, 50 percent of people that get rear-ended in a car accident will be in pain for the rest of their lives, and a substantial proportion of people that have been involved in an accident incur long-term disabilities. In a postal survey done in Sweden, 55 percent had residual disorders 17 years after the original accident.

Research has found that most victims of automobile accidents suffer from minute fractures which occur in the facet joints of the neck or back. They may not be visible on X-rays, but have been identified on slices of the facet joints in people that died from other accident complications. These fractures usually do heal in four to six weeks, but pain can persist for a long time. Patients that are treated for chronic pain after the car accident often report the same symptoms that are typical for a post-fracture pain, such as sensitivity to a change in barometric pressure (weather).

These small fractures and other related injuries can be addressed using a variety of integrative therapies. Treatments need to be applied quickly, and typically last no more than three months. The key is to heal the injury right away so it does not convert to chronic pain.

While every patient and situation is different, there are some typical treatments to the more common injuries sustained in a car accident. For low back pain, neck pain, headaches and fractures, treatments encompass acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, ayurvedic therapy, homeopathic medicine and herbal medicines, including injection therapy. Sometimes dizziness occurs, along with neck and back pain, following the accident.

Medical services related to a recent car accident may be covered by insurance. The critical step for the victim is to reach out to a licensed medical professional who can help with these injuries to start treatment right away.

Dr. Boris Schwartz is a naturopathic physician and the owner of Original Health Institute, in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-788-4333 or visit

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