Car Accidents: A Pain in Your Neck!

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by David Berkshire, L.Ac.

I was just asked to give a presentation to a group of State Farm Insurance agents about Chinese medicine. More and more people are discovering that when they have pain after a car accident, their motor vehicle accident insurance will actually pay for their treatment.

With all the talk right now about making health care affordable, increasing insurance costs, and both doctor and patient abuses of the system, my mind wandered while I planned what I would like to share about Chinese medicine.

I've treated a number of individuals after motor vehicle accidents. Most of them have come back a few times, and then that  initial trauma or nagging pain has been relieved. However, I often see people who show up in my office ten months after the initial car accident, having seen chiropractors, surgeons, massage therapists, and others–and still their pain isn't any better.

It doesn't make sense that some get better and others don't.

Chinese medicine has some speculations why this is. You often hear about mind-body medicine. Many doctors say lingering pain is "all in your head." Chinese medicine's holistic view of the body means the physical and emotional shock that accompany a car accident are never separate from pain treatment.

Chinese medicine also takes into consideration the factors that could make an injury more challenging to heal. The underlying factors are referred to as such things as "blood deficiency" or "qi deficiency," meaning that the body was not in a state of optimal health prior to the injury. Due to a compromised constitution before the accident, such bodies are predisposed to slow cellular healing and regeneration.

The Chinese never separated emotions from the physical body. The roles of fear and shock in the body have been acknowledged since ancient times. The classical teachings of Chinese medicine tell us that fear "freezes" the body (the muscles lock up and don't loosen). Similarly, shock "scatters the qi" (the muscles loose their coordination).

In a book called Crash Course, by Diane and Laurence Heller, the authors explain that auto accidents have the potential to create post-traumatic stress reactions. Such reactions are re-traumatized every time a clinician asks the victim to repeat the story with a logical approach. The authors advocate walking patients through the events non-linearly.

Chinese medical diagnosis relies on the pulse and the tongue more than the standard question/answer format of the modern medical clinic. With pulse and tongue as guides, the Chinese medical practitioner supports the patient to release physical and emotional blockages that cause pain…without asking her to re-live the trauma of the accident. Chinese medicine has the potential to regulate the energy flow of the body and overcome pain-producing patterns.

Chinese medicine has much to offer those struggling to recover from motor vehicle accidents, whether it is a minor sore neck, chronic pain that doesn't ever seem to go away, or anywhere in between. In the state of Oregon, your vehicle accident insurance helps pay for treatment, so that you don't end up with chronic pain.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give our clinic a call at (503)701-8766, and any of the acupuncturists would be happy to chat with you. We are also happy to sit down with you for 15 minutes to answer any questions as well. Thank you and Be Well.

Kwan-Yin Healing Arts Center, 2330 NW Flanders Suite #101, Portland, OR 97210, USA

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