Over 2.1 million emergency department visits were made in the U.S. for motor vehicle-related injuries in 2020. The injuries sustained vary in severity and range from cuts and scrapes to internal bleeding. It is also common for drivers or passengers to suffer back pain following a car accident due to the force of impact from a collision, which can cause the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back to overstretch or tear. Some of the most common causes of back pain following a car accident include the following:
If you have been in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you need to see a chiropractor and if so, how soon to do this following your accident. Read on for more information.
Ideally, you should consult a chiropractor within 72 hours of your accident. Many people make the mistake of ignoring pain or lingering symptoms following an accident which can cause injuries to exacerbate leading to degenerative issues and chronic pain in the future, if left untreated.
Often people do not feel any pain or discomfort in the hours or days following a car accident. However, physical symptoms such as dizziness, muscle stiffness, and back, neck and shoulder pain can manifest later. A chiropractic assessment will ensure any injuries are identified early on enabling you to receive the correct care and treatment for your injuries.
It’s important to monitor your health for any signs and physical symptoms you may experience following a car accident. The following symptoms could indicate a serious injury and the need for chiropractic attention:
Injuries such as whiplash can cause neck, back and joint pain and can also be an indication of a more serious issue. Bruises and contusions sustained after a car accident can also cause soft tissue injuries, which can lead to muscle spasms, tightness and back pain. If left untreated, this could impair normal movement and result in the worsening of pain.
Some people will experience stiffness in their bodies after a car accident. This is particularly common in the upper body such as the upper back, head, neck, shoulders and arms and can be a sign of underlying problems which may cause pain and increasing discomfort over time. A chiropractic examination can identify and treat any damage and help you to restore your body’s normal range of motion.
Nerve and spine injuries are common symptoms following car accidents and can cause spinal disc misalignment, pinched or compressed nerves as well as numbness or tingling. This is most likely a result of neck and back injuries and can also cause conditions like sciatica to develop due to a herniated or bulging disc that compresses nerves in the lower back. Sciatica can also cause weakness or numbness in the lower back, buttock and down the leg.
Post-traumatic headaches are commonly caused by a blow to the head and neck and typically appear hours or days after an accident, however, in some cases, this may be later and is known as delayed-onset post-traumatic headache. Headaches can also arise from a fracture, pinched nerve, muscle strain, whiplash or concussion. A concussion headache indicates an injury to the brain caused by a sudden jolt or trauma to the head and is often accompanied with dizziness, nausea, confusion, blurred vision or memory loss. A concussion is considered a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can cause brain damage, and should be treated immediately.
Sleep disturbance and insomnia can often follow a car accident. This may be the result of the physical discomfort from any injuries as well as the emotional and psychological effects of the incident. Some individuals suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after their accident and experience traumatic and recurrent flashbacks of the event. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms following a car accident it is important to seek medical and chiropractic attention immediately.
There are a number of reasons why it is important to seek chiropractic treatment soon after a car accident. These include the following:
As this article has shown, it is important to seek chiropractic treatment soon after your car accident to ensure you receive the treatment you need to prevent further injury and to ensure any claims you pursue are dealt with to your advantage.
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