How Chiropractic Can Help After An Auto Accident

Seeking chiropractic treatment after an auto accident offers myriad benefits, including drug-free pain relief from pain, quicker healing time and lasting results. As a reliable alternative to conventional medicine — or in conjunction with other treatments — chiropractics targets the causes of pain instead of just alleviating the symptoms.

Chiropractic care after an auto accident attends to the soft tissue injuries that victims often report. A chiropractor will carefully monitor the healing of sore muscles and tender ligaments, and ensure that they are healing over a spine that is in proper alignment.Chiropractic Care Alleviates Nagging Back Pain

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, 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.

Why Patients Need to See a Doctor After an Auto Accident

Anyone involved in an auto accident should see a doctor as soon as possible for an assessment, even if they feel uninjured. Even seemingly minor injuries can become significant if not treated in a timely manner.

Adrenaline levels spike after an accident and mask many symptoms and pain. It’s the body’s natural response that helps us get through emergencies, even if we are injured. After the body calms, aches and pains reveal themselves and inflammation around sore spots indicates injuries that were not apparent hours before.

Consulting with a doctor can ensure the diagnosis of injuries that might not be apparent, such as internal bruising or bleeding, or a concussion.

Legally speaking, seeking a doctor’s evaluation can be important to a legal claim regarding any auto accident. Refusing medical help after an auto accident might make it more difficult to file a claim with insurance or seek damages from another party. It is recommended that no claim related to an auto accident be settled until all parties have been seen by a doctor.

Injuries That Can Occur During An Accident

Whiplash

auto injury neck pain whiplashWhiplash 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 can occur during sporting activities, falls and assaults. Also, repetitive stress injuries or chronic strain involving the neck — such as using your neck to hold the phone — are common, non-acute causes.

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.

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:

  • The muscle itself.
  • The area where the muscle and tendon connect.
  • 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).

Shoulder and Neck Pain Causes

Most shoulder and neck pain results from injury to muscles and ligaments. The spinal cord, heart, lungs, and some abdominal organs also can cause neck and shoulder pain. Here are some examples:

  • Broken collarbone: Falling on your outstretched arm can cause your collarbone to break.
  • Bursitis: A bursa is a sac over the joints to provide a cushion to the joints and muscles. These bursa can become swollen and painful after injuries.
  • Heart attacks: Although the problem is the heart, heart attacks can cause shoulder or neck pain, known as “referred” pain.
  • Broken shoulder blade: An injury to the shoulder blade usually is associated with relatively forceful trauma.
  • Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles at the shoulder. These muscles can be injured playing sports with a lot of throwing or after repetitive use over a long time.
  • Shoulder or A-C separation: The collarbone and shoulder blade are connected by a ligament. With trauma to the shoulder, this ligament can be stretched or torn.
  • Whiplash injury: Injury to the ligamentous and muscular structures of the neck and shoulder can be caused by sudden acceleration or deceleration, as in a car accident.
  • Tendonitis: The tendons connect the muscles to the bones. With strain, the tendons can become swollen and cause pain.
  • Gallbladder disease: This can cause a pain referred to the right shoulder.

Headaches

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.

The key to post traumatic headache syndrome is to find a headache specialist and be patient. If the headaches are severe, chances are that it will take several months for any one treatment to have an effect. Most people are not aware of this fact in headache treatment, so they tend to start and stop treatments after a few days or weeks and become discouraged. The longer the brain has the treatments on board, the greater the chance it will heal.

Numbness

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.

While many sufferers of numbness, tingling, and pain in their arms and legs recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, which could have injured their spines, some do not. An examination is necessary in each individual’s case to assess whether an injury is present and what care can be achieved.

Dizziness & Vertigo

Dizziness is a common description for many different feelings. Vertigo/dizziness is a complaint that has been documented as a finding after car crashes much scientific literature. One source stated that 15% of car crash victims will experience vertiginous symptoms and 4% will have associated tinnitis (ringing in the ears). This is especially true in the case of rear impact collisions. The feeling of dizziness might be very familiar to you, yet difficult to describe.

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.

When you might feel dizziness:

  • Fainting or near fainting such as “at the sight of blood” or with emotional upset
  • Fainting or near fainting from standing up too quickly or standing still too long
  • Weakness during a flu, cold, or other illness
  • Seasickness or motion sickness
  • Queasiness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Confused thinking
  • Fatigue, tiredness, or daytime sleepiness
  • Clumsy hands or stumbling walking

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.

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. Many spinal injuries require immediate back surgery and might leave the patient permanently affected in form and function.

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.

Pain in Legs or Arms

The cause of many instances of shoulder or arm painis 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.

Perhaps you strained tendons or ligaments by carrying too much weight for too long, by lifting something that was too heavy, overreaching or overexerting your arm-as when playing sports when you’re out of shape-or by keeping your arm in an awkward position or even by sleeping on the 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.

There are other, less-obvious causes of shoulder or arm pain. Each is distinguished by where it is felt, whether it comes on suddenly or over time, when it is at its worst, if the pain extends to other joints in your body, and if other symptoms—such as swelling, numbness, tingling, fever, fatigue, and insomnia—accompany the pain. The causes of shoulder and arm pain include tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, and gout. Such pain might also result from a reaction to medications such as penicillin, anti-anxiety drugs, and oral contraceptives. 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. This is hardly surprising really when you think what happens in a car accident. 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.

Obviously wearing a seatbelt is law and rightly so. There have been a number of studies into the safety of passengers and the tests showed that if you wear a seatbelt you are less likely to be injured as seriously than if you were not wearing one. All the same you can still be damaged by a seatbelt and in some case quite seriously.

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. Why go untreated after an automobile accident? Pain does not have to become a way of life after an accident. If you’re involved in an accident, whether it occurs on the job or on the road, contact our office for a complete post accident examination. It could save you from having to say, “….it’s never been the same after the accident.”

Patient Treatment and Recovery

From the arrival of the paramedics at the scene of a traffic collision, to the emergency room where patients are transported, medical experts are trained to keep a watchful eye out for every type of injury, particularly head, neck and spinal injuries that could lead to further damage or paralysis if not handled properly. For these reasons, paramedics always err on the side of caution and supply neck and spinal bracing appliances to every car accident patient they transport. Immobilizing these areas can prevent further injury and can even save a life.
Above all, seeking medical attention after every car accident is vital. It is not uncommon to feel unharmed after a minor collision and turn down offers for a medical assessment. Within twenty-four hours though, previously unnoticed injuries can make themselves known in the form of swelling and bruising. Internal injuries might show no external symptoms, so seeking a medical consultation can prove to be lifesaving. Legally, refusing medical attention after a car accident can hurt a plaintiff’s case should the accident lead to litigation. For so many reasons, a thorough medical examination after a traffic collision is wise and prudent.

Hospital personnel are effective at identifying and treating a variety of injuries that occur during a car accident, and the emergency room is the best place to head after such an occurrence to rule out any life-threatening or critical injuries. Days later, many accident victims experience the aftermath of soft tissue damage, and significant and painful swelling and discomfort can be expected. In these cases, chiropractic adjustments can often provide relief and help prevent problems that can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain. Following up with a general practitioner in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments can help speed healing and provide treatment to most every type of injury.

Recovery after a car accident can be slow. The soft tissue damage that often results from a car accident can take significant time to heal. Pain management prescribed by a patient’s family doctor can provide temporary relief, but there are many things that patients can do during recovery time to help their recovery progress. Regular chiropractic assessments can monitor healing progress and help soothe strains and discomfort during recovery in addition to any treatments or medication prescribed by a general practitioner. Gentle stretching and moderate movement can help patients feel better both mentally and physically, and proper nutrition, rest and good fluid intake can all help put accident victims on the road to recovery.

Prognosis of Car Accident Injuries

For the best prognosis after a car accident, patients are advised to closely adhere to doctors’ orders and complete all prescribed treatments. In order to ensure the best recovery possible, patients should maintain open lines of communication with all medical personnel involved in their cases. Taking some time to look over medical records pertaining to the accident is an important step for guaranteeing the most thorough care possible. Making sure that the doctors understand exactly what happened during the car accident can help ensure the best care and give doctors a better idea of injuries that were possibly sustained in the collision.

In the days, weeks and months following a car accident, recovery can be slow and painful, but keeping all doctor appointments and closely following prescribed treatments can offer the best results for quick and effective healing. Pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis and joint issues, can make injuries like whiplash more difficult to heal, but overall prognosis is good for neck and spine trauma when proper medical attention is received in a timely manner, though soft tissue injuries and injuries on older patients or those with previous injuries might take more time to heal. Having patience with the healing process and seeking thorough medical care are the best ways to speed healing after any accident.

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