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Accidents cause spinal misalignments in the body, a serious condition that distorts your
structure, irritates nerves, bones, ligaments and discs and can damage your overall health. Any
accident, no matter how mild, can create nerve-damaging misalignments.
It is for that reason that if you have ever been in an accident or fall, no matter how minor, you
need a chiropractic spinal checkup to ensure that your spine is free from these health-
destroying abnormalities. Only a chiropractor is trained to analyze your spine for the vertebral
Is chiropractic care helpful in serious accidents? Absolutely! But in such situations it is necessary
to first attend to any life-threatening emergency such as bleeding or hemorrhage, stoppage of
breath, loss of fluid electrolytes, internal organ damage, broken bones, serious contusions or
abrasions, shock and the like. This is the specialty of the medical profession: dealing with
Long-term damage to the spine and head is especially common in auto accidents. Doctors of
chiropractic have for years recognized that most victims of automobile injuries do not fully
recover under medical care - they may continue to have problems for years after the accident
because their structure is often ignored. New medical terms acknowledging the incomplete
healing of accident victims have recently arisen: Postconcussion Syndrome (PCS), Whiplash
Syndrome (WS), Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI), and Mild Head Injury (MHI).2
All people who have been in an accident or trauma should see a chiropractor to have their
spinal columns checked for nerve pressure caused by vertebral subluxations or spinal stress. A
chiropractic adjustment can make the difference between life and death, between a life with
pain, disability and sickness and a life of true recovery, activity and accomplishment.
1. Hadley, L.A. Intervertebral joint subluxation, bony impingement and foramen encroachment
with nerve root change. American Journal of Roentgenology and Radiological Therapeutics,
1951, 65, pp. 337-402.
2. Bohnen, N., Vanzutphen, W., Twijinstra, A. et al. Late outcome of mild head injury: Results
from a controlled postal survey, Brain Injury, 1994, 8(8), pp. 701-708.
Nearly one third of all motor vehicle accidents are rear end collisions, and it is this type of
accident that is responsible for most whiplash injuries.
Biomechanics, the study of how mechanical forces affect living organisms, is useful in explaining
how even a "minor" rear end collision can result in a serious injury. The biomechanics of a
common rear end collision can be understood as a sequence of events, one following the other.
Newton's First Law of Motion states that, "An object remains at rest or in a state of motion in a
straight line unless it is acted upon by an outside force." To put this into practical terms, if you
are sitting in your car at a stop light ("at rest") and are then struck by another vehicle from
behind, ("acted upon by an outside force"), you will immediately not be ("at rest") anymore.
In this common scenario of whiplash-type injuries, your car is propelled forward, and as you sit
in your seat with your torso supported by the car seat, it too goes forward. What doesn't go
forward in that split second is your head. It generally stays where it is, but relative to your torso,
it travels backward as your car travels forward.
Have you ever had someone come from behind you and push you between your shoulder
blades, and felt your head go backwards? Whiplash biomechanics are just like that, only much
Hyperextension, or the abrupt movement of the head backwards, usually causes the most
damage in a whiplash injury, since there are no anatomical restrictions to the range of motion.
As a result of this sudden forceful movement of the head backward, numerous types of injuries
Tearing of the front muscles and ligaments of the neck is common. (Muscles move bones, and
ligaments hold bones together.) Disc herniations are also possible, and fractures are also of
When the vehicle finally stops as a result of braking or hitting another object, your body is
propelled forward, sometimes hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or airbag. If you are
wearing a shoulder restraint, your head will fly forward, with a twisting motion, resulting in
hyperflexion of the neck.
If you would like any more information on whiplash and the symptoms it can cause, please feel
free to contact us.
In Alberta, chiropractic treatment for injuries that have been diagnosed as minor and that are a
result from an MVA is billed directly to your insurance company. If you have been injured in a
collision please follow this process.
What to do within 10 days of the MVA in Alberta
File an injury accident report with the police.
Seek treatment from a primary health care provider (PHCP), a chiropractor, physical
therapist or physician. If your injury is considered minor (i.e. sprain, strain or minor
whiplash injury), your PHCP does not need authorization from your insurer for a specific
number of treatments. You may begin treatment immediately and your PHCP will bill your
insurance company directly.
File the appropriate forms with your insurer. Forms are available from your PHCP, insurer
or insurance broker.
If the injuries are not considered minor, or if at the end of treatment the injuries have not
resolved, contact your insurer to see how to access your Section B benefits for lost
income/additional coverage. Every Albertan is entitled to $750 of chiropractic care coverage
under Section B, but access to these benefits varies based on your individual policy.
Alberta MVA Insurance Information
Reimbursement for care has a number of sources each with specific rules. The primary payers
Your car insurance policy (called "Section B").
The liable (other) car insurance company.
Other insurance coverage you may have (e.g. at work or your spouses work policy)
More details regarding who pays for treatment…
If you have suffered an injury secondary to an automobile accident, you are initially
covered by your car insurance policy. This coverage is for 90 days from the date of the
accident for the specific number of treatments (including chiropractic and massage) set
forth in the Alberta MVA guidelines for the injuries that were sustained.
When this initial phase is finished, either after 90 days post-MVA or total treatments have
been completed, and if it is deemed more treatment is required, your car insurance policy
has a section called “Section B”. This policy covers $750.00 in chiropractic services and
$250.00 for massage therapy, provided you do not have private insurance. To open a
Section B claim, you have to call the insurance adjuster handling your case and let them
know you have continued chiropractic care at our office. You then continue care, pay for
the treatment, and prove payment for the treatment received via a receipt to the
insurance company, a reimbursement for up to $750.00 for treatments will be made
directly to you. Personal insurance coverage needs to be used up before Section B
insurance coverage can be used.
If you have any question or need help with the forms, contact our office and we will be
more than glad to help you.
The liable (at fault) car insurance company (the other driver’s insurance) is responsible for
the moneys paid or bills outstanding for any treatment you chose and receive that is
above the Section B coverage limit or, is not covered by Section B. In the majority of cases,
you will be reimbursed when you have fully recovered and you lawyer settles you claim
with the insurance company.
Private Insurance includes Blue Cross, your company’s health insurance plan, etc. Review
your policy for details. Many times chiropractic care or massage therapy is covered, with
some limitations. Know that this personal insurance coverage needs to be used up before
Section B insurance coverage can be used.