What Type of Doctor Should I See after a Car Accident?

Jul 19, 2022

What Type of Doctor Should I See after a Car AccidentNearly three million Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year due to car accidents and associated trauma. While some car accident injuries are emergent and require a trip to the emergency room, others will linger and turn chronic as a result of needing ongoing treatment to successfully treat your injuries.

If you need treatment for car accident injuries beyond the emergent stage, it is beneficial to seek a multidisciplinary office with multiple years of experience treating car accident injuries. AICA Orthopedics at Jonesboro is a great place to receive expert care from knowledgeable doctors and staff for a comprehensive treatment plan.

Possible Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident

Soft Tissue Injury

When you are in a car accident, if your car has damage, your body most likely has taken damage as well. A soft tissue injury is one of the most common injuries suffered in a car accident. These are typically the result of blunt trauma and present as cuts, scrapes, bruising, sprains, or ligament injuries.

These injuries can have a swift healing period, but depending on the severity, you may need more intensive treatment. Severe injuries to ligaments and tendons can require surgery and rehab to regain strength and mobility.

Chest and Abdominal Injuries

Internal bleeding is a common injury sustained during a car accident and occurs when blood vessels are torn and begin to bleed into your abdominal or chest cavity. Most of the time, internal bleeding is not evident without diagnostic imaging. However, watch for possible symptoms and seek medical treatment immediately. Common symptoms include nausea, dizziness, abdominal tightness, or urinating blood.

A chest injury, for example, can be internal bleeding that places pressure on the lungs and heart, resulting in shortness of breath and reduced heart rate, and even death. Another potential chest injury is a pneumothorax, or collapsed lung.

Broken Bones

When extreme force is applied to a bone, the result is typically a fracture. A fracture is the breaking of a bone in one or several places. The break can be partial or complete depending on the type.

Auto accidents often result in broken bones, whether you are inside the car or a pedestrian who has been struck. In fact, studies show auto accidents are the leading cause of orthopedic fracture. The most common breaks in car accidents are to the skull/neck and the tibia/fibula.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries as a result of car accidents can affect any part of the spine as well as in conjunction with head and brain injuries. Spinal cord injuries can range from minor to severe, but all are serious and should be addressed promptly. Spinal cord injuries can result in weakness, pain, paralysis, and even death.

While not a direct injury to the spinal cord, whiplash is a very common injury sustained in an auto accident. Whiplash injuries result from a collision that includes sudden deceleration after acceleration- think being rear-ended into another car. Whiplash affects the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and dizziness.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries occur when you experience a sudden jolt or stop causing the brain to bounce off the inside of your skull or suffer a blow to the head. Evidence of a brain or head injury includes loss of consciousness, bleeding, dizziness, disorientation, and nausea. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have long recovery periods and can result in lifelong health challenges.

What Immediate Treatment Should You Get Following a Car Accident?

The moments following a car accident can be overwhelming, but after assessing the situation, you need to prioritize your health. You should be checked for injuries both apparent and not apparent by medical professionals.

Depending on the situation, you may need to see a(n):

  • Emergency room doctor
  • Urgent care doctor
  • Primary care physician
  • Medical specialists, such as an orthopedist, neurologist, or physical therapist

What Type of Doctor Should You See?

Emergency Medicine

Immediately following a car accident, you might be transported to an emergency room by EMS. You will be assessed and treated by an emergency medicine physician who is experienced in trauma injuries and quick, accurate assessments for optimal treatment and outcomes.

They will order any necessary imaging and lab tests to help identify possible injuries and treat them to stabilize your injuries. Emergency physicians might recommend that you follow up with your primary care or a specialist, depending on your injuries. Below you will find several types of medical practice and what they treat.


Using X-rays, MRIs, CTs, and ultrasounds, a radiologist will interpret these images to diagnose any injury or condition you may have following a car accident.

Radiologists are vital to detecting and treating illness and injury. Their interpretation of the images will give the other collaborating physicians a direction to go in when treating you.

If you have any pain, discomfort, or abnormal swelling following an accident, there is a high possibility a radiologist will treat you. An x-ray can find a broken bone, and an MRI can show sprains or back injuries common in car accidents.

Orthopedists and Orthopedic Surgeons

What Type of Doctor Should You SeeIf you’ve been in a car accident, it might be important to see an orthopedist. An orthopedist treats the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes your joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments. If your injuries are severe or complex enough, you might need surgery. In that case, you would see an orthopedic surgeon.

Orthopedic injury symptoms can include swelling, inability to ear weight, stiffness, muscle spasms, or broken bones. Orthopedists typically work hand in hand with physical therapists and chiropractors to develop the best long-term treatment plan to get you back to your normal level of activities.

Common orthopedic injuries from car accidents:

  • tibia/fibula fractures
  • ‘Dashboard knee’ – a sprain of the PCL caused by striking your knee on the dashboard
  • Compression fractures of the spine
  • Wrist fractures
  • Muscle strains

Physical Therapists

Doctors of physical therapists specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation work to help patients improve their quality of life, regain strength after an injury or surgery, and many other things.

Physical therapists treat patients with injuries or damage to the brain, spinal cord, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. If you are injured following a car accident, your Jonesboro physical therapist might help you improve your range of motion, regain strength, prevent further injury, and help manage pain.

Physical therapists use a range of rehab techniques, including strength training, stretching, massage therapy, water therapy, and injury-specific exercises.

Neurologists and Neurosurgeons

Neurology is the specialty within the medical field pertaining to the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, autonomic nervous system, and blood vessels. Neurologists treat diseases such as migraines, dementia, and strokes.

Neurosurgeons evaluate and treat injuries and conditions involving the nervous system, skull, and carotid and vertebral arteries. While they are surgeons, they can also treat some injuries non-surgically.

Head and neck injuries are frequently the result of a car accident due to the abrupt jolting of the car and extreme force, so evaluation by a neurologist or neurosurgeon can be vital, especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Head and neck pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of feeling in your extremities
  • Severe headache
  • Bleeding from your skull

Neurologists can also treat the following common injuries from a car accident:

  • Concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Cerebral contusions

Psychiatrists and Psychologists

Auto accidents can result in psychological injuries as well as physical injuries. Mental health is an important aspect of overall health, but even more so following an accident or trauma.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are able to diagnose and prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and more. Psychologists are not always medical doctors but can include clinical social workers and licensed therapists. They can help you process the accident through group or one on one therapy.

After a car accident, you might experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD. These can have some of the following symptoms:

  • Feel afraid to drive
  • Have disturbed sleep patterns
  • Startle easily
  • Feel numb or emotionless
  • Flashbacks of the accident

These symptoms can be exacerbated if you are dealing with other physical injuries as well.

Pain Management Specialists

Chronic pain can be debilitating and prevent you from participating fully in your day-to-day life. Anesthesiologists who specialize in pain medicine treat patients dealing with acute and chronic pain in both outpatient and hospital settings.

Even if you do not sustain severe injuries in a car accident, you might still have minor aches and pains. These should be addressed by your primary care physician. However, as previously mentioned, some injuries are not immediately apparent. Chronic pain can prevent you from functioning even after an injury has supposedly healed. If you continue to experience pain following an accident, please discuss pain management options with your AICA Orthopedic team today.

Vascular Surgeons

Blunt force trauma from a car accident can lead to vascular injuries such as organ damage, ruptured arteries causing internal bleeding, and blood clots. If you are suffering from any of these after an auto accident, a vascular surgeon will assess and treat you. Vascular surgeons deal with diseases and disorders affecting the arteries, veins, and lymphatic systems, excluding vessels of the brain and heart. If you have any vascular injury following an accident, a vascular surgeon can perform surgery to repair that damage.


Chiropractors treat patients dealing with an injury to their neuromusculoskeletal systems as well as preventative treatments. Chiropractors use manipulations, adjustments, and supportive equipment to treat patients.

Following a car accident, you might be dealing with pain, inflammation, and discomfort. Our chiropractors at ICA Jonesboro can provide adjustments and other treatment options to relieve swelling and pain, and to improve range of motion.

Multidisciplinary Groups

Despite the estimated number of people injured in 2020 declining by 17 percent from 2019, accidents are still happening, and people continue to sustain injuries and need treatment.

AICA is a multidisciplinary office with comprehensive experience treating injuries sustained during auto accidents. Multidisciplinary offices are medical offices with a team of healthcare professionals focused on a comprehensive treatment plan. These offices, like AICA Orthopedics, allow you to receive appropriate treatment from several specialties in one place resulting in improved patient outcomes and long-term recovery.

Post Accident Treatment at AICA Orthopedics

Post Accident TreatmentOur AICA Orthopedics team at Jonesboro are experts and treat victims of auto accidents every day and understand it is vital to receive medical attention following an auto accident. AICA Orthopedics can get you on the path to healing and back to your everyday life following a car accident and associated injuries.

Whether you are experiencing back or neck pain, whiplash, broken bones, or another traumatic injury, we are here to help with a comprehensive plan. Our facility has state-of-the-art imaging in-house in or to properly assess and diagnose injuries. This will allow for a specifically tailored treatment plan to promote ideal healing.

Because AICA handles auto accident injuries on a daily basis, we can answer any questions you may have about your injuries or treatment process from start to finish. In addition to advanced imaging, we are also able to perform any necessary orthopedic or spine surgery your injuries may require. Following surgery, our team of physical therapists and chiropractors will continue to help you in your recovery.

Contact Us Today!

Visit AICA Orthopedics to learn more about our expert team of doctors and healthcare professionals and how we can help you after your car accident. Our specialists will talk you through all of your options for your car accident injuries, and our orthopedic doctors will help you determine the best treatment plan. In addition to our orthopedic doctors, our physical therapists and chiropractors are here to ease discomfort and ensure you receive comprehensive, quality care as you recover. Call or visit us online to get started at AICA Orthopedic Jonesboro or another of our locations near you.


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