Whether it is doing the school run, commuting to and from work or just doing the usual running around that comes as part of having a busy life, most of us spend a great deal of our lives on the road. Despite being a necessity for many people, every time we head out in a vehicle, we are putting ourselves at risk of being involved in a car accident. Car accidents are extremely common. Statistics show that there is an average of 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year – and those are just the reported fender benders. Unfortunately, many car accidents result in injuries – at least 3 million every year. While some of these are fairly minor and resolve themselves without professional attention, there are others that can have far more serious consequences. Many injuries sustained in car accidents can benefit from the attention of a qualified and experienced chiropractor.
Here are some of the most common injuries sustained in a car accident that chiropractic care can help to resolve.
Whiplash is the single most common injury sustained in car accidents and occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward, backward or to the side. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be traveling fast to get whiplash. Any sudden force can cause it, putting undue stress on the neck and spine, destabilizing them and causing a range of symptoms. These include:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Reduced range of motion in the neck
- Blurred vision
- Headaches and dizziness
- Lower back pain
The symptoms of whiplash aren’t always noticeable immediately, and in some cases, it can take days or even weeks to realize that you have been affected.
Back pain is another very common occurrence after a vehicle collision. In many instances, the cause of back pain is a herniated disc. This occurs when the soft, gel-like discs that sit between each vertebra slip out of place, causing pain and irritation to the nerves that run down the spinal canal. Symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Muscle weakness in the lower half of the body
- Numbness/tingling in the limbs
- Difficulties bending or straightening your back
- Sciatic pain (felt in the buttocks, hips, and legs)
Again, it isn’t unusual for the symptoms of a herniated disc to take a few days to appear.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are amongst the most serious that can be sustained in a car accident. This is because the spinal cord is crucial to the overall function and movement of almost every body part. Most spinal cord injuries are a result of bone pieces, disc fragments or ligament tears making contact with the spinal cord, damaging the nerve cells that send messages to and from the brain and body.
If the spinal cord becomes damaged, it can cause a range of problems including unusual sensations/neurological symptoms, partial or full loss of somebody functions and even paralysis.
How chiropractic care can help after a car accident
Chiropractic care is often recommended in addition to the medical care that you may receive in the aftermath of a car accident. Chiropractors have had specialist education and training in diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system using non-invasive, drug-free manipulations of the body. These are performed in order to stabilize the spine, decrease inflammation in the body, improve mobility in the joints and reduce the patient’s discomfort.
The chiropractic techniques recommended for you will depend on the type of injury that you have sustained and its severity. Nevertheless, chiropractic care has been shown to be extremely beneficial in helping patients to manage their pain and other symptoms after a car accident, and to regain as much mobility as possible so that they can continue to enjoy a full and active lifestyle.