Car Accident Injury

Being in a car accident can be a very difficult situation on a number of levels. Your pain is sometimes secondary to the aftermath of having your car at the mechanic as well as the stress of dealing with your insurance and potentially missing work. At Hjort Chiropractic, we are specially trained and equipped to deal with injuries caused by automobile accidents. Dr. Hjort underwent extensive post-graduate training at the Spine Research Institute of San Diego and is certified as an auto crash injury forensic expert. Part of his training included live auto crash testing with real people as well as crash test dummies. The training also included an extensive review of the scientific literature regarding auto crash injuries.  In the section below Dr. Hjort will summarize some of the research regarding auto crash injuries:

Car crash injuries can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Until I took my post-graduate training at the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, I really was ill-equipped to understand and to effectively treat complex car crash injuries. Patients are often not understood and may even be neglected at times because they develop complicated issues after a trauma that conventional medicine might not have an answer for. There has been a tremendous amount of research done all over the world that can help us understand some of the complexities of auto crash injuries and how they can affect our bodies later in life. I will summarize some of the most interesting research below to help give a better understanding of car traumatic injuries.

Car Accident Treatments at Hjort Chiropractic, P.A.:

Auto crash injuries can range in degree from mild to severe. At Hjort Chiropractic, we provide a wide range of treatment options so that people with complex or difficult injuries have a better chance of getting relief. Our three chiropractors all have different techniques. In addition to chiropractic treatment, other interventions are often utilized to gain better relief including:

Therapeutic massageAcupuncture
Active Release Technique (ART)
Exercise therapy
Cold laser
Electric muscle stimulation
Trigger point therapy
Therapeutic ultrasound, and
Decompressive traction for either cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) conditions

We have convenient hours to fit your schedule, including some appointments between 8 am and 6 pm, as well as Saturday mornings. Usually, we can get you in the same day if you are in pain!

Having a motor vehicle accident can be stressful in many ways. Don't live with unnecessary symptoms. Give us a call and let us help you!


Several million Americans are injured in car crashes every year. Of the people who are injured in crashes, about 40% will develop chronic pain (injuries that last more than 12 weeks are typically considered chronic).   Around 10% of those injured become permanently disabled. Nearly half of all chronic neck pain in the United States is thought to be a result of car crashes.

Prognosis Studies:

The definition of prognosis is 'the likely course of a disease or ailment'.  Prognosis studies of people injured in car crashes are extremely important because they demonstrate how serious auto crash injuries can be.  There have been dozens of prognosis studies which followed people that were injured in auto crashes over long periods of time. Most of the studies were done in Europe or Asia.  If you average out the findings of these studies about 40% of people injured in car accidents had continued, chronic symptoms at the time of follow up. The typical study followed the subject for one or two years, however, some studies followed the injured person for over 10 years after the crash.   Of particular interest, some of the studies noted the vector at which the crash occurred. In the subgroup of auto crash injured subjects which were hit from behind, the percentage that had chronic symptoms on follow-up rose from about 40% to about 55%. To summarize: if you get injured in a motor vehicle crash and are struck from behind (rear-ended), according to the research there is over a 50% chance that you will have continuing symptoms years later.  When I went through these scientific studies, it really helped me better empathize with patients with chronic symptoms who often are frustrated with their pain and might not get the proper attention from their healthcare provider.

Common tests often do not show what causes pain and disability:

Acute or chronic spinal pain (and other injuries for that matter) often are invisible to conventional medical testing including:

X-raysCT scans
MRI scans
Laboratory workups

These types of tests often do not show the actual cause of a person's pain and disability after spinal trauma.  It is important to see a doctor that has the necessary experience and training to recognize complex post-traumatic injuries.  While part of your workup at Hjort Chiropractic may include an X-ray evaluation, we are careful to evaluate other causes of pain and dysfunction that don't show up on X-rays.

Injury severity is often not correlated with crash speed or vehicle damage:

There are numerous studies which show that whether or not a person gets injured in an automobile crash and what the severity of the injury will be often is not correlated with the speed of the crash or the amount of damage to the vehicles.  Most injuries from car crashes happen at a crash speed below 12 miles per hour. The damage threshold for most vehicles is between about 8 and 12 miles per hour. What this means is that even when there is no damage to the vehicles involved in the car crash there often are injuries.  The individual circumstances involved in the crash have proven to be much more predictive of both immediate acute pain and long term chronic pain and disability. Through my post-graduate training in auto crash forensics, I learned to recognize circumstances in a car crash that often lead to more serious injury, regardless of the crash speed or vehicle damage. We call these 'Risk Factors'. Some of the risk factors that may have a significant impact on the presence and degree of injury include: improper positioning of the head restraint, poor positioning of the subjects head and/or body at impact, whether the occupant was aware of the impending crash, the vector of impact (being struck from behind is typically much worse than from the front), use of the shoulder harness, having a history of injuries, neck pain, headaches, or arthritis, advanced age, non-failure of the seat, etc.  In my experience, the more risk factors that are present, the more challenging it will be to resolve the patient's injuries. You can see how an auto crash forensic analysis can help us understand the injuries and subsequent symptoms better.


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