Your First Step on the Road to Recovery
Being in a car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. One second you’re on your way to your destination; the next second . . . bam! Your reality is turned upside down.
Whether you are involved in a major wreck or just a minor collision, you can suffer physical injuries. In fact, approximately two-thirds of people in automobile accidents develop symptoms of whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck. Left untreated, whiplash can cause chronic pain and other health conditions down the road.
The good news: chiropractors specialize in treating neck and back pain, especially pain due to auto accident-related injuries. That’s why seeking chiropractic care is one of the first things you should do after surviving a car accident—even if it’s only a little fender bender.
Here’s what you need to know about whiplash and how chiropractic treatment is a safe, natural way to help you recover after a car accident without the use of drugs or surgery.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a sudden, forced back-and-forth jerking of the head. This “whipping” motion causes neck muscles to tighten and contract and become fatigued, and sometimes even tear.
Auto accidents are the most common cause of whiplash. And while most people assume that whiplash only occurs during high-speed accidents, just a two- to three-miles-per-hour change in speed during an accident can injure the muscles, nerves, joints, and discs in the neck and spine.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Very often, symptoms don’t appear for two to forty-eight hours after an auto accident. Left untreated, these symptoms can cause chronic pain and other health issues:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, especially ones that start at the base of the skull
- Soreness in the shoulders, arms, upper back, and even the upper chest
Since you may not notice these symptoms right away—or you may attribute them to other stressors in your life—don’t wait to seek treatment until you feel pain.
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash-Related Injuries
Seeing a chiropractor as soon as possible is the best way to properly diagnose your injuries—and to ensure that you’re medical bills are covered if the auto accident was someone else’s fault.
During your visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about the accident and assess your injuries. He may even want to take x-rays to determine if there is any serious damage to your neck or spine.
Your personal treatment plan will depend on the severity of your injuries, and may include a combination of manipulation, massage therapy, and other techniques. Below are some of the most common chiropractic approaches for treating whiplash-related injuries.
- Cervical manipulation (neck adjustment): Using their hands, a chiropractor works on the joints of your neck to improve the mobility of your spine and neck and restore range of motion. You may even notice reduced pain, soreness, and stiffness and an improved ability to turn and tilt your head after your first visit.
- Cervical traction: This form of treatment uses a cervical traction device to gently—and safely—stretch your neck muscles and separate the disc and joint surfaces in your cervical spine.
- Electric stimulation: This safe, non-invasive therapy uses a low-frequency electrical current to stimulate your neck muscles, reigniting their ability to contract. This type of therapy helps you control pain, strengthen your neck muscles, and manage inflammation.
- Massage therapy: A soothing complement to cervical manipulation, therapeutic massage relaxes tense neck muscles and helps you heal from your injuries faster. It can also alleviate any mental and emotional stress you may be experiencing as a result of your accident.
- Spinal manipulation: Using this hands-on technique, a chiropractor will apply a safe degree of force to your spine, helping to restore movement and spinal realignment. Because the spine runs from your tailbone all the way to your neck, keeping your spine properly aligned helps your entire body work more effectively.
- Therapeutic Exercises: Whether your chiropractor stretches your joints manually or you do these on your own at home, rehabilitative exercises can improve your range of motion, speed up your recovery, and prevent your neck pain and stiffness from getting worse.
- Ultrasound therapy: To promote deep tissue healing, your chiropractor may recommend ultrasound therapy. This safe treatment sends sound waves into your muscle tissues, easing your neck soreness and stiffness.
Seeking chiropractic care after an auto accident should be your first step in recovery. It will not only alleviate your neck pain and stiffness and other symptoms of whiplash but also prevent you from developing accident-related injuries months and even years down the road.
At All Star Chiropractic, our goal is to help our patients recover from back pain, neck pain, lack of mobility, joint issues, range of motion issues, and more—without the use of prescription drugs. We believe in taking a holistic “whole-body” approach to your health. We don’t want to just temporarily fix your pain—we want to determine and treat the root cause so you live an active and pain-free life.
Call one of our locations today to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about how chiropractic care can help you.