Going to the emergency room after being involved in a motor vehicle accident doesn’t necessarily put you in the clear. During your hospital visit, you will have your vital signs checked, and the ER doctor will make sure that there are no life-threatening conditions, after which you will be given pain relief medication and be released.
What medical physicians fail to notice is whether the impact has knocked the musculoskeletal system out of its proper alignment (whether or not is accompanied by acute pain), which may not become visible until much later in life. Chronic pain syndromes, migraines, osteoarthritis, and others may often surface years later as a result of a past auto accident.
A visit to the chiropractor’s office, who specializes in musculoskeletal biomechanics, will help prevent underlying injuries from turning into serious problems in the future. Here is some of the most common car accident injuries chiropractic can help treat, preventing them from turning into chronic, life-altering conditions later on.
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid and unrestrained movement of the neck backward and then forward, as a result of a sudden acceleration-deceleration force. It is also one of the most common injuries following an automobile accident and one that’s often misdiagnosed, mistreated, or simply ignored. Annually, the U.S. loses approximately $30 billion in expenses related to whiplash injuries, including the cost of medical care, disability, lost productivity, and litigation.
Soft tissue injuries
A sudden blow to the body can cause the bruising, spraining, and straining of any number of ligaments, tendons and muscles, most of which are more difficult to diagnose and treat compared to traumatic injuries. Even if the initial injury is treated and heals completely, soft tissue injuries may continue to cause pain in the shoulder, neck, elbow, knee, wrists, and hands, especially if scar tissue develops and starts irritating the nerves.
When a person’s body experiences a sudden and powerful impact such as that caused by a car accident, nerves in almost any part of the body may become compressed by muscles, tissues, and surrounding bone, causing pressure that interferes (delays or terminates) with the flow of information to and from the brain. Effects range from moderate and acute pain to life-altering conditions such as sexual dysfunction, fasciculation, and paralysis.
Back injuries are another common result of automobile accidents with severe and debilitating consequences that will impact almost every aspect of daily life. Discs are sponge-like cushions between the vertebrae that give the spine its mobility and act as a shock absorber. The powerful impact from a car accident can rupture or deform a disc, which has two important consequences: it diminishes a disc’s ability to protect the vertebrae and absorb the shock and starts applying pressure on nerves, causing acute pain, tingling, and numbness.
Post-traumatic headaches are often seen in people involved in car accidents and can manifest immediately following the collision or may not show until a few days later. In many patients, however, the chronic, unremitting pain can last for months, years, and even a lifetime, disrupting their daily life to a great extent. Common symptoms of post-traumatic headaches include aching head pain, tenderness of the scalp, tightness across the forehead, and less often, loss of appetite. Headaches can last from thirty minutes to a whole week, If the individual has fewer than 15 episodes per months, the headache is considered episodic, but if it occurs 15 or more times per month, then it is considered chronic.
These and many other hidden injuries caused by even minor car accidents such as fender-benders can be checked out and treated by a licensed chiropractor, who can design a custom treatment plan based on a complete physical examination and a detailed description of the car accident. Treatment plans for auto accident injuries may include spinal decompression, massage therapy, flexion distraction, and chiropractic adjustments that will restore your spine’s proper alignment, strengthen your muscles, reduce pressure off nerves, increase circulation, and put you on the road to full recovery in no time.
About the Author
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.