There are millions of auto accidents across the United States every single year and these result in countless injuries. While some injuries are undoubtedly serious and require urgent medical attention, the vast majority of people involved in auto accidents will also suffer from non-visible injuries to their musculoskeletal system too. The musculoskeletal system refers to the bones, muscles and connective tissues of the body. The forces that are usually present in auto accidents place the musculoskeletal system under excessive force, resulting in internal injuries that could have a prolonged effect if they aren’t treated promptly.
When you are involved in an accident, auto or otherwise, you’ll almost certainly experience a rush of adrenalin around your body. This is the body’s way of helping you to deal with the shock of what’s happened, but it has another effect too – it masks pain. This means that while you may notice external injuries and seek help for them, if you don’t have any and you aren’t experiencing any pain, you may not realize that you’ve suffered damage to your musculoskeletal system too. And if you don’t know you’ve been hurt, you won’t seek medical support. This could see you doing further damage to your body since one of the main reasons we experience pain is as a warning sign, telling us not to do certain movements or actions as they could cause us harm. For example, the pain we experience when putting our fingers into an open flame is a warning telling us that fire is dangerous and harmful.
Most medical professionals recommend that anyone who has been involved in an auto-accident has an assessment with a chiropractor within 48 hours. This is because a chiropractic can carry out a comprehensive evaluation of your body to see if your musculoskeletal system has sustained any damage. There are many different types of musculoskeletal injury that can occur in an auto accident including:
Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in auto accidents and can even at occur when you are travelling at low speeds. It occurs when the force of the impact causes your head to rapidly whip forwards and backwards, placing extreme stress on the neck and upper part of the spine. Unfortunately, the symptoms of whiplash don’t usually start to develop for several days. Your chiropractic will focus on reducing the inflammation affecting your neck and cervical spine, reducing your discomfort and improving the mobility in your neck and shoulders.
Disc herniation occurs when one of the intervertebral discs found between the bones of the spine slips out of place. When this happens, not only do the bones of the spine (vertebra) rub together, but the herniated disc can put pressure on surrounding nerves and other structures, causing pain and weakness that radiates outwards from the back and into the limbs. Chiropractic care is highly effective at helping to treat a herniated disc. By realigning the spine, it’s possible for the disc to move back into the correct position and this reduces pain, inflammation and other symptoms. Patients can also enjoy better range of motion and flexibility and natural pain relief thanks to the release of endorphins that accompanies regular chiropractic appointments.
It isn’t just the connective and soft tissues in the neck that can be damaged during an auto accident. Our bodies are full of tendons and ligaments, muscles and more that give us strength and facilitate movement, and these can be affected by over-extension and tearing if they are placed under abnormal load or force. Injuries like these can be extremely painful and affect your usual ability to perform day to day activities. Chiropractic treatment can help accelerate the healing process so that patients can recover more quickly. It does this by encouraging improved circulation, sending blood and nutrients around the body to cells that require repair.
If you’d like more information about getting chiropractic treatment after an auto accident, call Structural Chiropractic at (510) 253-2600 to reach our office in Oakland, California.