A serious car accident can sometimes leave you with soft-tissue injuries that cause a lot of pain. Back and neck injuries, including whiplash, are common and might not become apparent until a few days after the actual accident. At that point, it’s important to get treatment to keep pain from becoming worse and turning into a chronic condition. There are different options you’ll have at pain management clinics for treating either new or long-term pain.
What causes whiplash or back pain? Commonly, a rear-impact accident causes your head to snap forward and back sharply. This can cause strain and severe overextension of the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
In some cases, the middle or lower back might be injured instead, through a similar process. Discs in the spinal cord can be herniated, or torn. This happens when the outer ring of the disc tears and the center portion protrudes and presses against soft tissues or nerves in the area.
What are the symptoms?It can cause pain, either in the neck and upper back or radiating out to the shoulders and up to the head, along with numbness or tingling and possibly loss of mobility. This can happen even with smaller changes in velocity.
Some types of lower back injuries can cause pain or similar symptoms of nerve damage in the legs instead of the back, or even trouble walking. In the case of herniated discs, pain tends to be steady, rather than coming and going the way it might with other injuries.
When should you seek treatment?If a doctor did not check you out immediately after the accident, it’s important to be seen as soon as you start to develop symptoms, even if they don’t seem particularly serious. Early treatment can help you heal faster and more completely. You may want to think about getting checked out even if you don’t think you were injured, to make sure there aren’t potential problems developing.
How can chiropractic treatment help? Spinal manipulation by a skilled chiropractor can help determine where your precise injury is and what the problem areas of your neck and back might be. This is especially helpful with radiating or generalized pain and other symptoms that you’ve been having trouble pinning down.
Once the diagnosis is clearer, a chiropractor will help you by massaging and manipulating affected areas of the neck or back to help gently stretch and relax the injured tissue. They can help instruct you what types of exercise will be helpful, and what to avoid. They can also help to ease strain on surrounding muscles and tissues that might be affected by compensating for your injury. This can be done both by treatment and by helping you to improve posture and movement.
Getting the right treatment after a car accident will be a big help in preserving your quality of life. Early in the recovery process, chiropractic treatment can ease pain and keep it from becoming an ongoing, severe problem, but later on, it can also be helpful in easing chronic pain to preserve and even regain function and movement.