How do you know when to have x-rays done in the ER? And what is the one finding most commonly missed in E.R.s? This one finding, when missed, may prove disastrous to your future treatment and ability to correct and fully heal. That finding is the correctly performed physical spinal exam. This exam must include range of motion (active) and palpatory tenderness. E.R. doctors and staff often forget, or omit, palpation of the neck for presence of tenderness and pain, along with full and complete voluntary (active) neck range of motion: bending forward and backwards, side to side (ear to ear) and full head rotation to both sides.
They’re not entirely to blame however. When it comes to ‘improper’ exams and assessments, physicians are taught that to follow symptoms from the patient. However, after a crash, your endorphins are at an alltime high, and often dilute or completely mask pain, and many other serious injuries. In fact, if a physician is not an expert in car crashes and spinal injuries, they are going to miss things. If range of motion is not assessed voluntarily (meaning you the patient performs the movement), then you can’t rule out taking x-rays. Often times ER doctors may skip palpating (touching to evaluate) your neck, in an effort to save time because more deadly conditions are walking through their doors. They may perform ranges of motion by grabbing your head and putting you through the ranges of motion, however both active and passive ranges of motion must be performed.
Check out our clinic today if you were involved in a car crash recently. Or, if you were ever involved in a crash, and did not have a full set of spinal x-rays performed, it is likely that your trip to the ER (or worse, you didn’t have any examination performed), was incomplete and left you in worse condition. Many symptoms after a car crash are headaches, nausea, mood changes, loss of smell and or memory, chronic neck pain, fatigue and energy level drops, poor digestion, inability to focus and concentrate, difficulty going to the bathroom, inability to concentrate at work, posture problems. These are just a few that are most commonly overlooked after a crash.
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