Following a motor vehicle collision, there are a LOT of things that can hurt! And, even a “minor” accident can have BIG impacts on the way we feel in the days, weeks, and months afterwards. One of the most common injuries attributed to car accidents is whiplash, which is an injury to the cervical spine (neck) and occurs when the muscles and other connective tissues in that area are overly stretched by the force of the head “whipping” forwards and back. The majority of whiplash injuries occur because of a rear-end or front-end crash – which, in turn, causes all the tissues in the neck to twist and turn with an amazing amount of force.
Whiplash symptoms can vary from person to person; however, some of the most common symptoms include dizziness; blurred vision; ringing in the ears; pain and/or stiffness; headaches; nausea; pain/burning/tingling/etc radiating down the shoulders and arms, into the jaw, or between the shoulder blades; difficulty swallowing; pain in the lower back, and more. Much of this is due to the fact that our bodies do their best to “immobilize” an injured area, which often starts out as a muscle spasm. However if, for whatever reason, the spasm doesn’t resolve itself as the healing occurs, additional scar tissue can occur at the injury site…and the vicious cycle continues.
Since every car accident – just like every patient – is different, the exact treatment plan will differ between individuals. Painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and ice can certainly be beneficial in the short term, but shouldn’t be relied upon for true and permanent relief. At a certain point they can even mask the pain of the residual injury and cause more harm than good. Chiropractic adjustments, on the other hand, aim to specifically restore joints to their proper position and motion which lets your body regain the function that the accident and injury has impaired.
One really important thing to note in the midst of all of the above information is this – your level of pain and/or discomfort does not necessarily correlate with the severity of your injury. Everyone responds differently to pain, and everyone has a different threshold of what their “10 out of 10” pain would be. So, pain alone (or lack thereof) should not be the deciding factor in whether or not you choose to seek treatment. The injury can most certainly still be present, wreaking silent havoc until one day, down the road (no pun intended) the pain suddenly appears. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, make sure to seek treatment sooner, as opposed to later – that way you can be assured that you’ve gotten yourself on the “fast track” to recovery!
This, of course, is where we come in! The doctors here at Fletcher Chiropractic, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, have a substantial amount of training in the treatment of a variety of injuries, with whiplash very much being within our scope of practice. So, if you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle collision, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule an appointment. Our goal is to get you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible!