Car accidents can be traumatic and overwhelming, not only because of any physical injuries sustained, but also because of the emotional and mental toll. An accident’s impact isn’t limited to damages to your car; it often results in injuries, especially in the neck and shoulder area, which can lead to ongoing pain and discomfort.
While your insurance company, attorney, and mechanic might be the first people you decide to call after you’ve been in an accident, a chiropractor should be at the top of your list as well.
Seeing a chiropractor after a car accident can help alleviate lingering symptoms. It can also help with the overall healing and recovery process.
Read on to explore the benefits of seeing a chiropractor after suffering an auto accident injury and why it’s important to take care of your body and mind during this difficult time.
Why Should You See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?
In addition to cuts, bruises, and fractures, a car accident can result in other injuries that are not visible to the naked eye, such as whiplash. If left untreated, such issues can lead to muscle pain, back pain, numbness, discomfort, and more. These symptoms usually develop within a few days of the auto accident.
Seeing a chiropractor can provide relief from pain and reduce the possibility of the injuries getting worse. Here are some reasons why you should visit a chiropractor in Oak Brook after you’ve been in a car accident:
1. Prevents Future Neck and Back Pain
Many car accident survivors complain of neck and back pain; it’s one of the more common delayed symptoms. You may feel the pain come on all of a sudden, even after you have recovered from the external injuries of the accident.
The frequent causes of neck and back pain are muscle or ligament injury, tissue or nerve damage, permanent damage to the vertebrae, bone fracture, herniated or bulging disc, and facet joint injuries.
A chiropractor will perform a physical assessment to determine the underlying cause of your lingering pain. Once they have identified the issue, they may adopt different means to treat your neck and back pain. Spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment is one of the standard treatments chiropractors use to help with back or neck pain.
This hands-on treatment involves massaging, moving, and applying pressure to the spine and joints. It also targets the pain source and improves the range of motion.
In addition to spinal manipulation, other treatments used to prevent future pain include myofascial release and trigger point injection. Manual massages and stretching can also release tension in the ligaments, muscles, and tendons around the spine.
Nutritional counseling and rehabilitative exercises are other treatments chiropractors offer to prevent future neck and back pain.
2. Detects Injuries That Don’t Immediately Appear
You may seem to be perfectly fine after a car accident, but that does not mean there is no internal damage. Whiplash injuries often take weeks or sometimes even months to show signs.
Additionally, the human body releases a flush of adrenaline immediately after an accident, which is why you may not feel the pain right away. A chiropractor will do a thorough checkup using certain tests to diagnose whiplash or other internal injuries. Further tests like X-rays can be used, but this step isn’t always necessary.
Visiting a chiropractor immediately after the auto accident would help prevent pain and other injuries from worsening.
3. Helps Regain Mobility
A car accident often impacts joints in the back, neck, shoulder, knees, and spine. Damage to any of these joints can greatly impact your range of motion. Moreover, a spinal injury can further reduce movement as the spine is responsible for holding up the back and allows the brain to send signals to the entire body through the nervous system.
Additionally, a car accident can impact soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which can cause soreness, stiffness, and inflammation, ultimately impacting your mobility. If the muscles and tendons stretch out of their normal range, it causes sprains, strains, and muscle tearing. This makes it difficult to move your neck, shoulder, arms, and legs in certain directions.
Sessions with a chiropractor can help reduce inflammation and resolve any misalignments of the joints and muscles. For instance, if your neck feels stiff after a car accident, it can be due to misalignments of the vertebrae in the spine. A chiropractor will apply precise and gentle manual pressure, also known as cervical manipulation, to reduce discomfort. In this stretching exercise, the chiropractor gently moves the cervical vertebrae from left to right with calculated speed.
Cervical manipulation works to improve spine mobility, as well as the movement of adjacent muscles. This treatment can reduce neck stiffness, soreness, and pain, and can restore the ability to freely move or tilt the neck.
4. Reduces Inflammation
A slight inflammation after injury from an auto accident is normal; it’s a sign that your body is healing. However, severe inflammation is not a positive sign and indicates that excess fluid is trapped inside your body.
Such inflammation is known as edema, which causes stretchy, shiny, or itchy skin; puffiness; swelling; or the skin remaining dented for a few seconds after being pressed or poked.
A chiropractor first will discover the underlying issues causing the inflammation and then will apply the right manipulation to reduce it. Chiropractic treatments help the body cut back on inflammatory cytokine production, which reduces the inflammatory response.
5. Reduces Scar Tissue
It’s normal for the body to form scar tissue after a car accident injury. When muscles and tendons get torn in an injury, our bodies repair them by forming scar tissues from collagen.
The scar tissue should start acting like normal tissue within a few days. But if they don’t heal automatically, they can cause long-term pain and stiffness. A chiropractor can break the scar tissues down using appropriate techniques, which relieve discomfort and help heal the area faster.
6. Offers Non-Invasive Treatment
You can avoid surgical intervention by opting for chiropractic treatment. When addressed at an early stage, many injuries can be treated with chiropractic care. A chiropractor uses different natural solutions and manual therapies to align your spine and joints to heal the auto accident injury.
If you delay seeing a chiropractor or overlook your injuries for too long, surgical intervention might be the only option to heal your ailment.
7. Offers Medication-Free Treatment
Chiropractors use medication-free treatments to relieve pain caused by misalignments, sprains, strains, whiplash, or other trauma sustained during a car accident. Your body will not need to depend on any addictive medications to heal and can regain its natural posture.
Have you been in a car accident and are experiencing pain due to injuries? Contact Oak Brook Medical Group to schedule your appointment with the best chiropractors in the area. We start the process by assessing your condition, then develop a treatment plan incorporating different practices like massage therapy and physical therapy for pain relief and faster recovery.
When Do You Need to See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?
The first thing you need to do after a car accident is to seek emergency medical attention, even if you don’t have any external injuries. Seeking medical help immediately is necessary because some injuries might be internal and don’t show symptoms until a few hours or even days after the accident. Go to the nearest healthcare center or emergency room and get a thorough check-up.
If you experience headaches, body pain, sore muscles, fatigue, numbness in the arm, burning or tingling sensations, nausea, insomnia, or other symptoms of a whiplash injury, you should not delay scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor.
Ideally, you should see a chiropractor within 72 hours of the accident, regardless of whether you have any injury symptoms. Most medical insurance policies cover chiropractic care following a car accident.
How Often Should You See a Chiropractor?
The frequency of your visits depends on several factors, like the intensity of injury, whether there are other health issues, etc. Depending on the injury, you may need weeks or even months of chiropractic treatment. Your chiropractor can best tell you how often you should receive treatment once they have done a thorough assessment.
Some people might experience relief after just one or two treatment sessions and think they can stop. But remember that chiropractic care is a manual treatment, so it takes time to fully realign your spine. You must complete all the sessions recommended by your chiropractor to avoid major injuries in the future.
Car Accident Injuries That May Require Chiropractic Care
According to Value Penguin, 2.3 million people in the U.S. were injured due to auto accidents in 2020.
Chiropractic care is highly recommended for treating car accident injuries because it’s low-risk, shows lasting results, and doesn’t rely on medication.
The following are common injuries that can be treated with chiropractic care:
Whiplash is one of the most common after-effects of a car accident. It is caused by a sudden change in a person’s head position, which could further lead to muscle tearing.
A more aggressive collision can even cause upper cervical spine dislocation or herniation. A certified chiropractor can adjust the torn muscles, aiding the healing process and relieving discomfort. (Read: How a Chiropractor Can Treat Whiplash)
- Shoulder & Neck Pain
Stiffness or pain in the neck and shoulder are other common occurrences after car accidents. Daily activities, movement, and simple tasks all might be restricted due to such injuries. If left untreated, the pain may worsen and could lead to more significant issues in the future.
Chiropractors use different manual therapies and rehabilitation techniques to relax the muscle tension and ease pressure on your nerves in order to reduce the pain.
- Back Pain
Both the lower and upper back are in danger during an auto accident. You should not overlook back pain because it can indicate severe damage and lead to temporary or permanent paralysis if not treated properly.
A chiropractor uses systematic pain relief methods to reduce inflammation, realign muscles, and treat other factors causing back pain.
- Arms & Leg Injuries
Many people complain of arm and leg pain following a car crash. This can happen due to bruising, lacerations, muscle tearing, tendon or ligament tearing, nerve damage, and more.
A chiropractor is able to determine the cause of such pain and provide the appropriate care to relieve discomfort and pain.
- Knee Injury
Knees are also susceptible to car accident injury due to sudden shock. Knee injuries can result in joint inflammation, ligament tears, or a serious fracture. Chiropractic care can help any minor or major knee ailment.
A knee injury makes it extremely difficult to walk, climb stairs, stand, and perform other movements. Chiropractic care can be essential to initiating proper healing as it uses the appropriate treatments to help accident survivors regain the correct knee posture and strength.
- Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury might occur in the form of a misalignment or herniated disc, which can be extremely painful. This type of injury cannot be treated without proper adjustments and physical therapy. Chiropractic adjustments and stretches can help people recover from such injuries to a great extent, but sometimes bracing or realignment is required to restore the spine to its perfect position.
- Muscle Soreness
Chiropractic treatment is the best way to get relief from muscle soreness – a pretty common complaint following a car accident. Auto accidents often cause sprains and strains in soft tissues, which eventually escalate when not treated.
During chiropractic care, several different stretching exercises and massage therapies are used to treat injured tissues and prevent significant issues in the future.
- Chest Pain
People usually have their seat belts on during auto accidents. When the seat belt and airbags push against the chest, it causes soreness, bruising, and chest pain. In more intense cases, the pain may emanate from fractured or cracked ribs.
Chiropractors at the Oak Brook Medical Group have the skill and training to relieve chest pain or similar discomfort through adjustments, massage, and other natural treatments.
Most Common Chiropractic Treatments After a Car Accident
Depending on the type and severity of the injuries, chiropractors can customize the treatment plan. Here are some common treatments you can expect when you visit a chiropractor in Oak Brook, Illinois.
- Chiropractic Adjustment / Spinal Manipulation
Spinal manipulation is a common technique used by chiropractors to treat a whiplash injury, lower back pain, neck pain, and other conditions. There are three methods of spinal manipulation.
Instrument-assisted manipulation – As the name indicates, the chiropractor uses a hand-held tool to apply pressure to the spine.
Flexion-distraction manipulation – This hands-on technique uses gentle spinal manipulation to treat inflammation and pain throughout the body.
Specific spinal manipulation – This treatment is used to target specific spinal joints with restricted motion. A thrusting technique is used to trigger the nervous system and stretch the soft tissue to reinstate the original motion of the joint.
Traction is another useful chiropractic technique to relieve neck and back pain by stretching and realigning the spine. The chiropractor applies manual pressure to the head, back, or limbs to stretch the muscles and skeleton. If needed, the chiropractor may use a hand-held tool or a special table to assist with the treatment.
- Cervical Adjustment
Cervical adjustment is mainly used for treating headaches and neck pain. The treatment involves massaging the patient’s neck in all directions (up, down, back and forth, and left to right) in order to stretch the muscles around the neck. The specifics of the cervical adjustment treatment vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of pain or discomfort and the underlying cause.
- Whiplash Treatment
Chiropractors use different massaging techniques to treat a whiplash injury and reduce the inflammation around the neck. Whiplash treatment usually involves gentle stretching and manual adjustments.
- Electric Manipulation
Electric manipulation involves using weak electric currents to stimulate the muscles. This helps reduce inflammation and offers pain relief.
Other therapeutic methods used in connection with chiropractic methods:
- Therapeutic Massages
A chiropractor uses different massage therapy techniques to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow.
- Physical Therapy & Exercise
The chiropractor may recommend some exercises and stretching to assist in the healing process. Exercising strengthens the muscles, improves blood circulation, and is good for overall health.
- Hot & Cold Therapy
The practitioner might alternate between a heating pad and an ice pack to treat back pain, decrease muscle swelling, and improve blood flow. Besides ice packs and heating pads, they may use other forms of heat and cold compresses as well.
- Weight Management Treatments
If a patient needs to lose some weight to speed up the recovery process, holistic chiropractors may recommend a weight and dietary management program. A healthy diet plan aids in improving muscle and joint health.
Early Intervention With Chiropractic Care Can Improve Recovery Time After a Car Accident
Seeking chiropractic treatment after an auto injury offers many benefits. Chiropractic care can provide substantial relief from back pain, muscle soreness, stiffness, inflammation, swelling, and much more.
Professional and highly skilled chiropractors at Oak Brook Medical Group can ensure you get holistic care after a car accident. We are here to help you heal and regain your strength so you can return to your everyday activities without restriction.
Our expert chiropractors incorporate a wide range of services for treating injuries, including auto accident chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, massage therapy, trigger point injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, and more.