Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) cause much more than just a sore neck and headaches. Research has shown that even a low speed collision of 6.8 miles per hour (MPH) can cause serious damage to your cervical spine. Damage that may not be immediately apparent and difficult to diagnose. Because some of the injuries may not show up for days, weeks, or even years after the accident it is extremely important that you are seen by a provider that is able to diagnose and treat these injuries effectively. These injuries can even occur when there is very little damage to your vehicle. A visit to a chiropractor may be the surest way to relieve these symptoms quickly.
Chiropractic Adjustments have helped many auto accident victims avoid invasive and risky surgeries, overuse of pain pills and injections, and years of residual discomfort from injuries that healed poorly. With safe, quick and painless chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy, patients can rest assured that soft tissue injuries like whiplash will heal properly, enabling them to live pain-free and move past the physical and emotional trauma of the accident as quickly as possible.
Injuries That Can Occur During An Auto Accident
Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe neck pain following an injury to the soft tissues of your neck — specifically the neck’s ligaments, tendons, and muscles. It is caused by an abnormal motion or force applied to your neck that causes movement beyond the neck’s normal range of motion.
Whiplash is most frequently caused by auto accidents. The speed of the cars involved in the auto accident or the amount of physical damage to the vehicles might not relate to the severity of neck injury. Collisions at speeds as low as 15 mph can produce enough energy to cause whiplash. Seat belts are not a reliable way to prevent whiplash, as they do not secure the neck.
Lower Back Pain
Car accident back pain is one of the worst and most prevalent types of chronic pain. The tremendous forces created during a car accident are enough to tear apart soft tissue and shatter bone. Life altering spinal injuries are often the result of serious automobile wrecks and even minor fender benders can create some significant back ache complaints.
The spine is the most important part of our skeletons. Spinal injuries are common in serious automobile accidents. Vertebral fracture and spinal instability can result from the nightmarish force of a high speed collision. Occupants who are ejected from a moving vehicle face an even greater risk of spinal fracture, serious injury or death.
If you have been seriously hurt in an automobile accident, be happy to be alive. Your situation could always be worse, regardless of the extent of your injuries. Concentrate on your recovery and try to make the best of the functionality you still possess. Contacting a licensed Chiropractor that concentrates in Auto Injury relief and therapy is one of the first moves to make.
Sprains and Strains
The body is meant to move. Muscles allow that movement to happen by relaxing and contracting, causing joints to bend, extend and rotate. Muscles attach on each side of a joint by thick bands of fibrous tissue called tendons. When a muscle contracts, it pulls on tendons, making a joint bend on direction.
A strain occurs when a tendon is stretched or torn through overuse or stretching. The damage might occur in three areas:
1) The muscle itself
2)The area where the muscle and tendon connect
3) The tendon itself.
Joints are stabilized by thick bands of tissue called ligaments which surround them. These ligaments allow the joint to move only in specific directions. Some joints move in multiple planes; therefore, they need more than one group of ligaments to hold the joint in proper alignment. The ligaments are anchored to bone on each side of the joint. If a ligament is stretched or torn, the injury is called a sprain.
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Your neck and shoulders contain muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as many ligaments and other supporting structures. Many conditions can cause pain in the neck and shoulder area. Some are life threatening (such as heart attack and major trauma), and others are not so dangerous (such as simple strains or contusions).
Headaches & Migraines
Many times after a car accident people will have initial neck pain, are seen in the emergency room and treated. If the injuries are not life threatening they are sent home with some medication and told to rest. Unfortunately, many will start to have headaches, even if they have never had headaches before. Those with a history of headaches will find their headaches are getting worse.
Most of the time the headache will dissipate over a week or two and everything will be fine.
But what if the headaches don’t go away? What happens and what do people do if the headache gets worse? Post traumatic headaches that get better in four to six weeks are considered acute headaches, but those that stay at the same pain level, start to get worse, or go beyond six weeks are more concerning. The headaches might be all over the head and moderate in pain with breakthrough stabbing, throbbing pain on one side. This more severe form of headache is associated with migraine symptoms and indeed is a migraine.
Numbness and tingling down the arms and legs, also known as paresthesia, can also include symptoms such as pain, burning, pricking, or creeping along the skin. These symptoms generally indicate a malfunction of sensory nerves.
Dizziness & Vertigo
Vertigo is a medical term to describe the feeling of spinning, whirling, or motion either of yourself or your surroundings. This is the same feeling you might have after getting off a merry-go-round or spinning in place. Several diseases of the balance organs of the inner ear can cause vertigo, or it might be a symptom of a tumor or stroke. It might also be a result of an injury.
Dizziness might be just mildly annoying or caused by something possibly life threatening. Often after an auto accident injury people experience this as a symptom of the injury sustained.
Pain in Legs or Arms
The cause of many instances of shoulder or arm pain is obvious. You do something to injure the arm or shoulder and immediately feel pain, such as in an auto accident. You might have broken a bone or dislocated your shoulder. The resulting pain might range from an annoying ache to an acute pain that makes it hard for you to use the injured arm. Whiplash injuries, common in auto accidents, can also cause shoulder and arm pain.
Shoulder and Arm Pain might be referred from some other region of the body, as when someone suffering a heart attack feels pain in the left shoulder and down the left arm. The pain might also be referred from nerves associated with the joints in the upper spine or “trigger points” in the back, which are particularly responsive to chiropractic spinal adjustments designed to treat such problems.
Legs are generally abused from standing or sitting for long periods of time. It is important to stretch, massage, and incorporate joint movement to get pain relief. The knee is a complex joint influenced by muscles from above and below the joint. Knee instability is often compensated for by increased muscle tension in the leg muscles and shortening of the iliotibial tract (large connective tissue structure on the outside of the leg). Car accident injuries that damage these parts of the leg require special attention.
Car Seat-Belt Injury
Another common type of personal injury experienced from a car accident is seatbelt injury. Whether some car has rear ended your car or another car has rammed into the side of your car you will be jerked forward or sideways. This thrust will have an effect on your body even if you are wearing a seatbelt. Although lifesaving, the seatbelt causes misaligned ribs and vertebrae which in turn pinch and pull the nerves which are connected to these affected areas. The result is pain.
How Chiropractic Care Helps
Because a chiropractic school curriculum teaches students how to treat back and neck pain without pharmaceutical help, a doctor of chiropractic is uniquely positioned to help car accident victims avoid the prescription drug cycle.
Using a variety of drug-free techniques, from spinal adjustments to electric muscle stimulation to rehabilitative exercises, chiropractors can:
Relieve pain. Soft-tissue injuries may take months to fully heal, but a chiropractor can often provide pain relief much quicker than that. Some car accident victims report up to an 80 percent reduction in discomfort after just a few weeks of chiropractic care.
Restore mobility. The soreness and stiffness from a motor vehicle injury can inhibit movement. Chiropractors work with patients to help get them moving again as quickly as possible so they can regain full range of motion before scar tissue develops.
Support long-term healing. The muscle weakness resulting from a car accident can leave patients vulnerable to re-injury. Chiropractic care often involves rehabilitative exercises that improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine.
Visiting a doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible after an auto accident can boost a patient’s chances of making a fully recovery—without resorting to prescription drugs.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured In An Auto Accident
Right after exchanging insurance information and talking with the police after a vehicle accident, make an appointment with Dr. Hanson for a complementary exam – even if you initially feel fine. The most common car accident injury, whiplash, can take up to three days to manifest symptoms, but it can cause years of misery without prompt treatment.
Your insurance company is not on your side. Did you know that insurance companies hire Doctors to review your case and intentionally devalue your injuries and attack your case so they can claim your injuries are not as severe as they actually are? If you have seen a provider that isn’t specialized in diagnosing and documenting your injuries correctly, then these Insurance Doctors will use that against you. This will result in you not getting the care you need and possibly accepting a settlement that is significantly less than what you and your injuries will need. Some of these injuries may also require future treatments and medical interventions that if not properly documented will not be included in your settlement, meaning you will have to pay out of pocket for future medical expenses. These are aspects of your case and your injuries that insurance companies don’t want you to know about. Which is why you need a qualified medical provider to examine your injuries.
All of these issues are easily addressed if your provider has the proper training and properly equipped facility. So please, if you have been injured in an accident seek expert advice and care for your injuries.
Consult a team that specializes in the treatment of auto accident injuries through chiropractic, massage, physical rehabilitation, and medical referral.