When you get in a car accident and are able to walk away, you always breathe a huge sigh of relief and count yourself lucky. You're in one piece. Maybe you have some minor injuries, but you are not missing any limbs and or bleeding profusely. In the weeks that follow, however, you need to be vigilant about caring for any more minor injuries your accident did cause. Visiting a chiropractor who offers auto injury care is often a responsible way to go about this. Here's a look at some common post-accident injuries and complaints and how a chiropractor can treat each one.
Whiplash is a pain in the neck that results from your neck suddenly bending forward, then back. You may not feel the pain of whiplash immediately after the accident, but it will come on within a day or two as your muscles and ligaments inflame and tighten due to the trauma. A chiropractor can help ease the pain of whiplash by putting your spine back in alignment. This will reduce the tension on the muscles and connective tissues in your neck, allowing them to heal faster. He or she may also use laser therapy to relax the muscles in your neck. The laser is cold and low powered; you won't feel a thing as it is applied, but you should feel relief after the treatment.
Sciatic pain is pain that originates from your sciatic nerve, which runs through your lower back and upper leg. It can pop up after an accident due to trauma to your hips and lower back. Sciatic pain can feel sharp and stabbing, or it can be a dull ache. Your chiropractor can help ease the pain by alleviating tension in your lower back and upper legs. This will start with an adjustment. You may hear a pop as they manipulate your spine, but you should feel no pain. They may also use a TENS device to activate some muscles in your upper legs via electrical stimulation. This will feel tingly, and you'll feel your muscles contract, but again, it won't be painful.
When you are in an accident, your body is often forced forward against a seat belt. This can really pull on your shoulders and leave them feeling sore and tight. Your chiropractor can help alleviate the tightness by stretching your shoulders and upper arms in certain directions. They may also show you some stretches you can do at home to help loosen up. Heat therapy, which basically involves holding a heating pad against your shoulders for about 15 minutes at a time, can help restore your range of motion as well.
If you are dealing with pain or a minor injury after a car accident, do not hesitate to see a chiropractor in your local area. They can help!