If you’ve been in a car accident and are feeling any indication that you’ve been injured — maybe it just feels like something isn’t “right” overall, or with a specific part of your body –you should get checked out immediately or see a medical provider as soon as possible. So why seek medical treatment after being an accident?
Medical Reasons for Getting Treatment After a Car Accident
This part is pretty simple. Nothing trumps your health and well-being. Car accidents are serious shocks to the system. Our bodies weren’t meant to sustain the amount of force and impact that most car accidents generate.
Even if you were only in a low-speed collision in which neither car was significantly damaged, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about injuries. In side impact collisions, you can hit your head on the door frame or the window, and you may not even realize it happened. A rear-impact collision can cause sudden and violent torsion to your head and neck. Any blow to the head or trauma to the upper spine can be serious, especailly when caused by a car accident, when you may not have time to brace yourself for impact. Bottom line: If you don’t feel right after a car accident, get yourself checked out.
What some people may not realize is that chemicals in the body can mask pain and discomfort for a certain amount of time after a high-stress incident like a car accident. So, pay attention to what your body is telling you in the hours and days after a car accident. It may take a while for injuries to manifest themselves. And get medical attention if there’s any indication that something isn’t right.
What Types of Injuries Can Car Accidents Cause?
The area of the body that is most often affected by a car accident is the spinal column (the neck and back) which includes the muscles supporting the spinal column. The most common neck and back injuries from car accidents are whiplash-type over-extension injuries, muscle and ligament strains and sprains, and disc injuries. So you want to be on the lookout for any stiffness or numbness in your neck and upper back, any issues with range of motion, and of course any twinges of pain and discomfort in that area.
But car accidents can also result in other forms of soft tissue injuries, headaches, and other types of injuries that may not be accompanied by any visible symptoms.
Many car accidents cause symptoms immediately after the accident. But as we touched on in the previous section, it is not uncommon for a person who has been in a car accident to feel fine immediately afterward and not have any symptoms for a day or two. So if you do have any injury what is the best treatment to receive?
What is the Best Medical Treatment after a Car Accident?
It depends on the type of injury, however most car accident injuries result in soft tissue damage and pain around the spine. As a result chiropractic is one of the best ways to treat and heal from these types of injuries. Here’s how chiropractic can help you:
1. Chiropractic Reduces Inflammation
During an auto collision, the ligaments and muscles that make up your spine can be stretched or experience micro-tears. X-rays or MRI scans usually aren’t sophisticated enough to diagnose these kinds of injuries, but this tissue damage causes the area to become inflamed. Many times, an auto injury patient won’t feel much discomfort immediately after the crash, but they wake up the next morning to a stiff and painful neck.
2. Chiropractic Restores Motion
Another problem with inflammation is that the tissues become immobile, which can slow healing to the area. Ligaments of the spine don’t get many nutrients or blood supply normally, and this becomes even more difficult when inflamed and injured. During a chiropractic adjustment, the joints of your spine are mobilized, which helps increase blood flow and healing nutrients to the area.
3. Chiropractic Reduces Scar Tissue
Your body heals ligament, tendon, and muscle injuries by creating scar tissue. Scar tissue in an injured area is made up of the same kind of cells as the original tissue, but it’s laid down rapidly and randomly as a temporary “patch” on top of the damaged area.
If you get scar tissue in a large muscle, it can be uncomfortable for a while until you stretch it out, but it most likely won’t cause any long-term problems. Scar tissue in the ligaments of your neck or back, however, can be much more debilitating, since we can’t stretch it out ourselves. Your chiropractor focuses the adjustments on these specific vertebral joints that are fixated, effectively stretching them and breaking up the scar tissue in the joint.
4. Chiropractic Relieves Localized Pain
Over the last 20 years, countless studies have demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments are a safe and effective way to reduce pain. In fact, a 2013 study found that 94% of patients experienced neck pain relief with manipulation!
5. Chiropractic Reduces Pain in Your Whole Body
Many auto injury patients develop more widespread pain after a crash, especially if the original injury wasn’t treated promptly. A 2014 study reported that people who received a chiropractic adjustment had increased levels of pain-reducing hormones in their bloodstream.
If you have been injured in a car accident make sure to get examined right away by either your chiropractor or a local medical provider. At West End Chiropractic and Wellness our medical team has treated thousands of patients who have been involved in a car accident. We have chiropractors, medical doctors, massage therapists and acupuncturists here to help you.