Why to See a Chiropractor If You Have Been in an Auto/Car Accident
“I was in a small car accident two years ago and my neck just hasn’t felt the same since then.”
Although ‘walking it off’ seems like a more convenient approach for neck and low back pain at the moment, the long-term effects of whiplash if left untreated can be debilitating and costly.
Whiplash is an injury of the cervical spine that commonly occurs following a car accident and more specifically, a rear end collision. Just as the name indicates and upon impact, the neck is forced backward and then forward in a manner similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip. This forced motion can drive spinal ligaments and muscles beyond their normal range of motion.
Predisposing Factors for Pain Following an Auto Accident
Research indicates that women seem to be prone to more extensive whiplash injuries than men.
Source: Stemper BD, et al. J Biomechanics 2003;36: 1281-1289.
Diagnosis of Whiplash from a Car Accident
A thorough exam will be performed to best assess the nature of a whiplash injury. In addition, the following tools are commonly used:
· X-ray is imaging used to help rule out complications such as fractures and dislocations.
· Computerized tomography is a more detailed set of images to assess bone and soft tissues.
· MRI scans are useful for detecting injuries to the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots
Over the counter or prescription medication may be used in the initial stages of injury to control pain. Even so, chiropractic and physical therapy are the foundation of treatment for whiplash. One of the following may be used:
Ice and heat
Kinesio Taping to reduce pain, promote circulation and healing and to re-educate the neuromuscular system
Proper stretching and strengthening exercises specific to the patient and injury
Spinal manipulative treatments (including decompression and traction)
o Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)