If you are injured in a car accident, you may experience chronic pain and discomfort from your injuries. The good news is, there are options for treating chronic pain available to you. Interventional pain management is an effective alternative to traditional, pharmaceutical pain management.
What is interventional pain management?
Pain management is a medical specialty, and interventional pain management (IPM) is one subset of this specialty. IPM includes an array of pain-blocking techniques and treatments. IPM is also an alternative to surgery for some injuries.
Interventional pain management treatments
An IPM specialist can administer several different forms of pain blocking therapy. The procedure that will work best for you will depend on the type of injury you received and the symptoms you are experiencing.
Epidural steroid injections
Injections containing a steroid and an anesthetic are delivered into the epidural space in the spine. These types of injections can reduce inflammation and swelling and provide long-lasting pain relief.
Radiofrequency ablations (RFA)
A small amount of electricity is passed through a needle into the body and to the nerves causing pain. This procedure typically involves local anesthetic and mild sedation.
A probe is inserted into the affected disc, and a small amount of energy is emitted to break up the gel-like substance inside the disc. This causes the disc to shrink a small amount, relieving pressure on the disc and the surrounding nerves.
This minimally invasive surgery removes a herniated disc. Because the incision is small and muscles are retracted rather than cut, this procedure has a faster recovery time than open surgical lumbar discectomy.
The benefits of interventional pain management
IPM treatments typically have shorter recovery periods and generally, have fewer side effects than surgical options. They also can provide relief from chronic pain for extended periods of time. Depending on the injury and the pain management treatments prescribed, you can experience relief from pain for weeks, months or even forever. Also, unlike pain management drugs, IPM treatments treat the actual cause of the pain, do not pose the risk of addiction, and have fewer side effects.
How do I know if I’m a candidate for interventional pain management?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are interested in interventional pain management, you should schedule an appointment with a practicing pain management specialist. The doctor will discuss the details of the accident and your injuries to help them diagnose your injury and prescribe treatments.
At Broward Outpatient Urgent Care, we treat people injured in a car accident. If you are experiencing chronic pain after a car accident and would like to see if interventional pain management could help you, contact us to schedule a consultation visit with our board certified doctor and pain management specialist.
Each year, countless people contract the influenza virus, because they fail to get vaccinated against the most common seasonal strain. While most people recover without issue, many require hospitalization, while others suffer life-changing health outcomes. If you have yet to receive your flu vaccine, learn why it’s still not too late to visit your local Urgent Care for a seasonal flu vaccine.
Influenza, commonly called the flu, spreads easily. You can catch it from someone who coughs, sneezes or even talks to you from up to six feet away. You can infect others a day before you show any symptoms, and up to a week after becoming sick. Children can pass along the virus for even longer than that.
When Is Flu Season?
Flu season is an annually recurring period of time that’s characterized by an increased prevalence of influenza outbreaks. The flu season occurs during the cold seasons on each hemisphere, when conditions appear to increase the risk of transmission. In the United States, the flu season typically begins in October, peaks in February and ends in May. That said, flu transmission rates can vary by region.
Because it can take up to two weeks for the human body to create antibodies against the influenza virus, experts recommend that people get vaccinated against the flu by the end of October.
What if You Waited?
If it’s still flu season and you haven’t been infected, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. At the same time, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated even if the flu season is close to its end. This is because flu activity can persist after the traditional flu season ends.
Why Get Vaccinated?
While some regard it as a minor illness, influenza is actually a serious disease. While every flu season is different, millions of people can expect to become infected, with hundreds of thousands requiring hospital stays and tens of thousands facing flu-related deaths. Because a flu infection can affect people differently, even healthy bodies can have serious reactions. This is why it’s so important for anyone to get immunized, regardless of their personal health. With that said, it’s especially important for people to get vaccinated if they are at a higher risk of complications. You should also get vaccinated if you care for someone who is at a high risk for flu-related complications.
No vaccine is perfectly protective in any year, so it’s important to practice good infection control. That includes regular hand washing — especially before eating — and limiting contact with others when you or they are sick. But to minimize your chances of illness, yes, you should still get the flu shot this year, and any year.
It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety. When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of an unused gym membership or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the later winter months feel hopeless.
“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1st can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”
To ease yourself into 2018, here are some tips to help keep your New Year's resolutions:
1. Write It Down
Whether it is working out, budgeting, buying that house, or even reading more, it is so important to write down your New Year’s Resolutions.
Pro tip: Put that list somewhere you can see almost daily
2. Schedule It
If you keep saying you will do something tomorrow, it will never get done. Sit down and figure out what your normal schedule looks like, then start adding parts of your new routine in. Want to save money this year? Set up an automatic deposit into your savings so that you can forget about it. Want to workout? Schedule that time into your day with a specific time and location. You are much more likely to go if you have a specific commitment.
Pro tip: Set up a reminder on your phone to alert you multiple times
3. Break It down
Many people decide to do everything at once and by week two end up burned out. Want to eat healthier? Switch one snack a week with a fruit or pick one day that you want to eat breakfast. Trying to do it all at once becomes overwhelming and too uncomfortable. Once you do it once a week, you can add another day until you get to where you want to be.
Pro tip: It takes 21 days to build a habit so add a day every 3-4 weeks
4. Find a Buddy
A lot of people want to get healthier, save more money, and complete that project they have put off for years. Find someone in your circle of family and friends that have similar goals and set up a schedule together.
Pro tip: Set up some sort of accountability system so that if one of you does not follow through they have to do extra workouts or save more money for that week, etc.
5. Make It Fun
If you hate running, your workout should not be running a marathon. If you want to save money, do not cut out everything you enjoy at once. Instead, spend some time finding what you like. Join a gym that has some fitness classes and try a few out. Instead of going to a movie try going to a park or a free play or movie screening in your area.
Pro tip: The more new things you try, the more options you will have to keep things fun
6. Jump Back on the Wagon
There will be days where you did not get enough sleep or the car broke down and you need to fix it. Things will happen. Do not let that discourage you. If a week or two go by and you lost your routine, jump back as soon as you realize it. It is much easier to go back to the gym or eat healthy again after one week instead of one year.
Pro tip: Make sure whatever habits you start, you do not quit for more than 3 days.
There are numerous injuries that can result from a car accident. Some are easy to identify with obvious symptoms that show up right away. Other car accident injuries aren’t quite so apparent for several reasons, as some don’t show up on the “outside,” and others develop symptoms that can sneak up on you days or even weeks later.
Here are several types of car accident injuries that aren’t obvious in the direct aftermath of a collision.
Whiplash, also known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, takes place when the head and neck are suddenly forced backward and then forward. This results in stress on the cervical spine (in other words, the bones in the neck) and can leave the injured person with a host of symptoms. While some whiplash cases are minor and result in little or no pain, it can cause neck pain that can be mild or excruciating, shoulder pain, upper back pain or headaches. It can also lead to further complications, including pinched nerves, concussions or shoulder injuries.
Concussions are another type of car accident injury that can start out as a quiet injury that doesn’t seem serious but can cause a host of symptoms that often get worse before they get better. Concussions are caused by a blow to the head, which can happen during a car accident. Some concussions seem very mild, but symptoms can increase over time and can be debilitating. Common symptoms include headaches, pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, fogginess, memory loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, speech changes, appearing dazed and fatigue. Other symptoms can pop up over time, including concentration problems, irritability, personality changes, light and noise sensitivity, sleep disturbances, and more.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is associated with many traumatic human experiences, and can also include car accidents, particularly if the accident was a serious one. PTSD symptoms include headaches, insomnia, heightened anxiety, distressing thoughts, recurring dreams, flashbacks, intense psychological distress, intent to avoid situations similar to the trauma, and more. These symptoms are not always immediately evident — in fact, they can creep up on the accident victim weeks or months later. While PTSD is not necessarily a physical injury, it’s still very much an injury that needs prompt diagnosis and ongoing treatment. Also, even if the car accident doesn’t result in PTSD, many car accidents are still stressful for those involved.
Why You Should See a Doctor ASAP
You’ll always immediately seek medical care for obvious and life-threatening injuries, but it’s just as important even if you’re just “a bit sore” or “feeling fine.” A prompt medical exam by a qualified practitioner can reveal injuries, whether they are physical, emotional or mental, that aren’t visible to non-medical folks. Early diagnosis can lead to treatment that can ward off potential complications down the road.
While car accident injuries can take many forms, it’s best to be seen by a doctor as soon as you can, no matter how minor your aches and pains may be. A visit sooner rather than later can save you time, pain and future complications.
Winter is almost in full swing! That might be good news for winter lovers, but for those prone to colds, it's not so exciting. Luckily, there are many ways you can protect yourself from these winter ailments, as well as many urgent care centers where minor illnesses and injuries can be treated.
Watch out for these common winter injuries and ailments as the temperatures drop:
Fall brought an onslaught of allergens into the air, from leaves, grass, and dust, but those symptoms can often persist into the wintertime. The dry air of winter might also exacerbate any asthma symptoms you might be having. If your asthma and allergies worsen, you can seek help in local urgent care facilities like Broward Outpatient Urgent Care.
Slippery ice means you are way more likely to fall, even if you are simply walking to your car or picking up the mail. And it's quite easy to end up with a sprain after a nasty fall -- more than 80% of ankle sprains are the result of the inward rolling of the ankle. Luckily, all a sprain usually requires is a quick visit to a walk in clinic so a doctor or nurse can take a look at it. Beware of the black ice!
Yes, it is that time of year again. The flu, in its many different incarnations, runs rampant during this time of the year and is very easily transmitted. Make sure to get your flu shot and try to avoid contact with too many people if you do come down with it!
The conditions of winter make ear infections far more likely, especially in children who are unusually susceptible. They can be very disruptive (not to mention painful), so it is best to see a doctor at a Broward Outpatient Urgent Care as soon as possible. Headaches are also much more common in the fall and can be caused by lack of hydration or even sinusitis.
As always, try to practice good hygiene, don't come into close contact with sick people, eat tons of Vitamin C-packed foods, and stay hydrated this winter!
Chronic back pain is a common condition that can take over your life. If you are struggling to find relief from aches and pains of the spine, it may seem like there is no end in sight. Fortunately, with some simple lifestyle changes, you can end your fight with your achy back. In addition to seeking the advice of doctors, follow these tips for staying ahead of your pain.
If you are making small changes to your lifestyle and still are not seeing results, it may be time to visit a doctor at Broward Outpatient Urgent Care about your back pain. Your doctor will likely screen for more serious disk disorders or will prescribe specific exercises. By staying diligent and committing to a healthy lifestyle, you can make your spine feel loose and pain-free.
If you live in Florida and drive a car, you’ve probably heard the phrase “no-fault state” more than once. But what exactly does “no-fault” mean, and how does it affect you if you’re involved in a car accident? We’ll explain what Florida’s no-fault law means, how it affects your car insurance, and what happens if you’re in a car crash.
Florida’s No-Fault Law
The “no-fault” law in Florida means that, in the event of a car accident, both parties turn to their auto insurance policies to make claims, regardless of who was at fault. To cover this, all Florida drivers must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance included in their car insurance policy.
No-fault laws are supposed to make it easier for those injured in a car accident to seek medical treatment. However, there are some restrictions. For example, PIP insurance has a limit on medical expenses; it will only pay up to a certain amount. If your injuries are serious enough that they meet the law’s “injury threshold,” or exceed your PIP coverage, then you may choose to a file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Car Accidents in No-Fault States
If you are a Florida driver and are involved in a car accident, you have peace of mind knowing that any medical expenses will be covered by your PIP insurance. However, you should still make detailed notes of the crash. Florida is a “no-fault” state, but if your injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating, you may still choose to file a claim. At any accident, it is a good idea to record the following:
With Florida’s no-fault law and your PIP coverage, you can seek medical attention right away, without waiting for the insurance companies to decide who is responsible. Broward Outpatient Urgent Care can help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
It’s that time of the season again. Everybody is preparing for that wonderful occasion... spending time with family and friends, setting up the colorful lights, planning for that perfect getaway, wrapping presents and some fun-filled decorations for the spirit of the holidays. In this season while you try to make a wonderful memory, being extra cautious in going about various activities is completely necessary. We’ve listed 10 common Holiday accident and injuries for awareness, and in the event of unfortunate events, you may know what to do.
1) Car Accidents
The holiday season can be very busy. Our children may have many holiday-related programs at school. Add to that already busy schedule — shopping for Christmas gifts, holiday parties, travel for family gatherings. We spend much of that time in our cars on the road. In the days leading up to Christmas, many people are rushing to purchase last minute gifts. Traffic is much heavier. In addition to traffic, distractions also increase. From decorations and lights, to the kids in the car, to the cellphone, to the GPS, distractions can increase tremendously. The holidays are a time for joy. A serious car accident can quickly ruin holiday celebrations. As we drive during the holidays, we need to be aware that other drivers may feel rushed or distracted and must plan accordingly.
In the event of car accident injuries, it is recommended to set an appointment with Broward Outpatient Urgent Care after the accident to ensure that no major damages have occurred. As sometimes, it would take weeks before the side effects of the accidents are felt, and most of the time, it is at this point that the accident has dealt a large amount of damage to the spine.
2) Christmas Tree Fires
Okay, this one isn’t exactly a shocker, but it’s still one of the most common home accidents during winter (and a deadly one). In fact, 1 out of every 31 fires during the holidays result in a death (versus 1 out of 144 for the entire year). Luckily, prevention is easy. Unplug the Christmas tree lights when you’re out of the room (or out of the house), and you’ll be able to sleep soundly.
Heat is a real problem in the winter. Urgent cares and emergency rooms are filled with victims every holiday season thanks to filled kitchens, tight timetables and busy households. Instead, cooks out there need to slow down, accept help and let the family wait a little longer for that delicious holiday meal.
4) Luggage Strain
This is a real thing! Every year, travelers report injuries related to heavy lifting. Luggage, presents, decorations, trees... they all require a little bit of heave-ho. If you haven’t yet started pumping iron, get on it! Shop for the right type of luggage. Consider one that's sturdy and light weight. It is beneficial to choose a luggage with wheels and handles at the same time for easy handling. Always bend your knees while lifting!
5) Accidental Poisonings
Of the entire holiday accident list, this is probably the one you’d least suspect. Poisonings of pets and small children thanks to delicious-looking plants and decorative berries are a common threat during this time of year. Our advice: Keep the poinsettias and berry-strewn wreaths up high and out of reach.
6) Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is another frequent cause of urgent care visits during this time of year, especially with many Thanksgiving lovers enjoying leftovers far past their expiration date. A good rule of thumb: Eat that turkey within three days of preparation for optimal taste and health.
7) Decorating Mishaps
Probably the most common of all holiday accidents are due to decorating disasters. Each year, men and women everywhere fall from ladders and rooftops while attempting the very best seasonal displays. To help keep you safe while you combat that animated Santa, make sure BOTH feet are firmly on the ladder (and don’t ever use the top rung).
8) Slip and Falls
Slips and falls mirror car accidents in that they occur thanks to changes in weather conditions, poor visibility and sometimes after an evening of celebrating (or surviving) with the family. Always make sure you are stepping on stable surface, if you feel or not sure if you are safe on that ladder or stool then better not risk it. Always trust your instincts. In any case, make sure that there are no pointed or hard objects on the ground. Clean up the clutters that may injure you in case unfortunate event happens.
9) Extension Cord Attacks
Roughly 2,000 people are treated each season for sprains and lacerations thanks to exposed extension cords. These decorating necessities also contribute to fires because of improperly placed cords (using indoor ones for outdoor displays) and overloaded circuitry. You can protect yourself and your loved ones by always using cords responsibly and by ensuring regular paths are clear.
10) Wrapping Paper Turmoil
Okay, wrapping paper isn’t exactly to blame, but every year enthusiastic gift openers visit urgent care centers and emergency rooms thanks to knife and box cutter injuries. To those wielding these sharp objects, always cut away from your body! One good away to avoid lacerations when opening holiday presents is to keep calm and just enjoy the process of opening the gifts.
All right, there you have it - 10 common holiday accidents.
Prevent the ones you can and protect yourself from the rest. If you have any questions, or need to make an appointment with Broward Outpatient Urgent Care, contact us now!
People do a lot of risky things while driving. Eating, applying makeup, trying to find the right radio station–all of these are considered distracted driving and all of them increase your risk of a serious car accident. But the greatest risk comes from texting and driving. Check out these frightening statistics about the most dangerous distraction on the road and what you can do to be a safer, less distracted driver.
Distracted While Driving
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Association, car accidents involving distracted drivers resulted in 3,179 deaths and 431,000 injuries in 2014.
Texting is Distracted and Dangerous
The National Safety Council reported that texting and driving causes one out of every four car accidents in the United States. Texting while driving results in 1.6 million crashes and nearly 330,000 injuries.
Five Seconds is a Lifetime
According to a study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, when you text while driving you look away from the road for about five seconds. That doesn’t sound like a long time, but consider this: If you’re traveling at 55 miles per hour, five seconds is all it takes to travel the length of a football field.
Even if you brake as soon as you look up from your phone, your vehicle needs time to come to a complete stop. If you’re traveling 55 miles per hour and brake suddenly, your vehicle will travel an additional 170 feet before it stops. Looking away for a second can be the difference between a near miss and a serious collision.
A Generation of Distracted Drivers
According to research from the National Highway Safety Association, young drivers are at the greatest risk for distracted driving. Teens 15 to 19 years old make up the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash. Ten percent of all fatal crashes in this age group are attributed to distracted driving.
Drivers in their 20s make up 38 percent of distracted drivers who were specifically using a cell phone in a fatal crash.
Teenagers and young adults are apt to think they’re good multi-taskers and swift to react. This may lead them to think texting and driving is safe for them. The reality is changes on the road happen in the blink of an eye and reaction times are slower when distracted.
How to Stop Texting and Driving
Texting while driving is a dangerously easy habit to start, but luckily, stopping it is also easy. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Phones are absolutely everywhere these days, and we’ve become accustomed to using them all day. There are some situations, like driving, where the risk to yourself and others makes answering a text, chat or email too big to ignore. Committing to putting down the phone while driving isn’t just a good idea, it may save your life or the life of someone else.
Car accidents can be a frightening experience. Of course, if there is a serious or life-threatening injury at the scene of an accident, you’ll be seen by a medical professional right away. For other injuries, it may not be so pressing, and if there doesn’t seem to be an immediate injury, it can be tempting to put off seeing a doctor. This is not a good idea and here’s why.
Waiting Can Make Things Worse
Car accident injuries don’t always manifest themselves right away. It can take a little bit of time for “fine” to become “not fine,” and by then, more damage may have already been done. Instead, see a doctor as soon as you’re able to, even if you only have mild pain (or no pain at all).
One reason accident injuries aren’t apparent right away is because our bodies send adrenaline and endorphin's through our bodies from the accident itself, which can help increase energy and block pain. Since car accidents generally produce a high level of force, these chemicals can cover up any soft tissue damage or other damage you may have sustained.
Also, waiting for things to become bad enough to warrant an urgent care visit is never a good idea for other reasons. For example, you may alter your gait to accommodate for what seems like a mild knee injury, furthering the damage you’ve experienced and developing (or exacerbating) issues in another body part. Another reason is that the injury can continue to get worse without treatment. Early treatment and care can often prevent injuries from wreaking further havoc on your body.
Timing Affects Medical Billing
Additionally, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) requires that the insured be seen within 14 days from the date of the accident for initial treatment. Your PIP coverage won’t cover your medical care if you wait to see a doctor beyond two weeks, which is, of course, a huge concern for those who have been in an car accident. You can lose your PIP benefits if you delay, which can be a huge financial loss.
It’s also important to seek out a doctor who knows how to handle your PIP claim and how to bill it. Your regular practitioner may refuse to see you following an car accident because they’re not set up to properly bill your insurance. Doctors who specialize in car accident injuries are the better choice for another reason — they are experts in the sorts of injuries that result from an auto accident and are best suited for taking care of you. Broward Outpatient Urgent Care are the experts at handling patients after car accidents. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
Don’t Delay Medical Care
If you’ve been through a car accident, don’t hesitate to seek medical care. Delaying your initial visit could not only result in the loss of your PIP coverage and become a financial burden, but it can contribute to more health problems down the line. Early treatment can be the difference between ongoing issues and a full recovery as well as keeping your ducks in a row as far as insurance billing goes. Contact us at Broward Outpatient Urgent Care immediately following a car accident if you have any questions!
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