Car Accident Chiropractor in Hiram
People visit a chiropractor for a variety of reasons, but pain following a car accident is a very common one. Even at lower speeds, a car accident can be jarring and cause muscle tears, misaligned vertebrae in the spine, or even nerve compression. While some people recover from their injuries in a few days or weeks, other patients continue to have pain. Older adults are at increased risk of chronic pain after a car accident, but it can happen at any age.
What Should You Do After a Car Crash?
Don’t assume that you’re fine or that your injuries are too trivial to need medical attention. Many people make this mistake after an accident, when the adrenaline rush may be suppressing their pain. At the same time, some injuries don’t hurt immediately, but the area may become swollen and inflamed as the healing process begins, causing the pain to show up hours or days later. Additionally, misaligned vertebrae may cause difficulties only after several days, weeks, or even months of putting stress on your other joints and muscles. For all these reasons, we recommend seeing a healthcare professional right away to be evaluated and to document any injuries you have.
How Can a Hiram Car Accident Chiropractor Help with Your Pain and Injuries After a Collision?
Even if you’ve already gone to the emergency room or seen your general practitioner after an accident, following up with a chiropractor is still recommended. Here are some of the many ways we can be of assistance with your car accident injuries:
A Thorough Evaluation and Diagnosis
An urgent care doctor will examine you and possibly order X-rays following a car accident. This is fine for diagnosing broken bones or other injuries that need immediate attention. However, it’s easy to miss more subtle injuries, especially if you are not even having pain or other symptoms yet. As a result, many people only receive a partial diagnosis, and some of their difficulties may not be treated. When this occurs, you may find it difficult to get treatment for long-term pain because future doctors might look at your chart and decide your injuries were already adequately treated.
At Optimum Health Rehab, we use a full diagnostic suite to identify any potential issues caused by your accident. Depending on your symptoms, we may take X-rays or a CT scan or run nerve conduction studies. After reviewing the results, we will also give you a physical exam, often focusing on your spine or other areas where you have pain. If you have a spinal misalignment, also known as vertebral subluxation, we can quickly correct it by moving the vertebrae back into alignment.
Further diagnostic studies are often helpful for patients with neck injuries. These are common in car accidents, where your head may snap forward and back with a great deal of force due to the car decelerating suddenly in the collision. As a result, many people develop tears in their neck muscles and may be diagnosed with neck strain or whiplash. If your X-ray doesn’t show any broken bones, a doctor will probably diagnose whiplash or another type of soft tissue injury. The typical treatment protocol for these injury is to rest, take over-the-counter pain medication, and apply ice to your neck. Frequently, patients recover from muscle strains in the neck within a few weeks.
However, other people continue to have pain. This can be caused by a deep muscle injury that hasn’t healed, or it could be that you also suffered a spinal subluxation and/or a pinched nerve at the same time as the neck strain, and these were never treated. Fortunately, we can treat all of these problems once we make a more exact diagnosis. The same is often true of other injuries like back pain, shoulder pain, and other musculoskeletal injuries.
Relieve Inflammation and Scarring
Unsurprisingly, car accident injuries can lead to inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. Inflammation is what happens when the body responds to an injury or illness. For example, if you hurt your back in a car accident, your body dispatches white blood cells to the spine or surrounding muscles to prevent infection and increase blood flow to the area, hastening the healing process. This flood of blood cells often results in swelling, redness, and warmth – all signs of inflammation. In most cases, inflammation wanes as the injury heals and the extra blood cells are no longer needed. Still, if your injury isn’t healing, you could develop chronic inflammation. Over time, this persistent inflammation can cause pain and even joint damage, and the longer your injury goes untreated, the more likely you will have chronic inflammation.
One example is a vertebral subluxation or a misalignment of one of the spinal bones (vertebrae). As we mentioned earlier, these misalignments don’t always cause pain the minute they happen. But over time, as the misaligned bone tugs on other bones and muscles, you might develop chronic inflammation, which leads to eventual pain. Unfortunately, if you don’t get treatment right away, it will be difficult to convince the other driver’s insurance company that your subluxation was caused by the car accident. This is one reason why we recommend seeing a chiropractor right away after your accident. Treating your spinal misalignment early can also help prevent or reduce the pain that might result.
Scarring can occur with muscle and soft tissue injuries, and in some cases, scar tissue can limit movement or cause other difficulties. If you have a persistent muscle injury, we may prescribe a deep tissue massage, which can break up scar tissue and boost circulation to help your muscles heal faster. Additionally, we may also use regenerative treatments on muscle or tendon injuries.
Improve Range of Motion
When you suffer an injury in a car crash, moving around can be painful. As a result, you might spend less time moving your neck, back, or another area that hurts. This isn’t a problem in the short term – if your pain goes away after a couple of days, you can return to your usual activities without issue.
But if you have continued pain, you could lose some of your range of motion (how much you’re able to move a joint) over time. People with chronic back pain after an accident may find it harder to reach for items or bend to pick something up. Constant neck pain may lead to a reduced ability to turn your head and look at things. Shoulder injuries may limit your ability to do a wide variety of activities that require a range of motion in your arms.
A Hiram car accident chiropractor can help in multiple ways. First, after diagnosing the causes of your pain, we’ll treat them – for example, correcting a spinal misalignment, taking pressure off a compressed nerve, or treating an injured muscle. This helps to relieve your pain so you can work toward regaining your range of motion.
This last part is best done under the supervision of a physical therapist. Optimum Health Rehab also provides physical rehabilitation, and our physical therapists work with your chiropractor to provide complete care. They can walk you through exercises to improve flexibility and strength, as well as diminish the risk of future injuries. As your muscles become stronger and more flexible, your range of motion should improve until you are back to where you started in terms of function. (In some cases, you may be even better than before your accident.)
Help with Nerve Injuries and Pain
Nerve pain and injuries are easy to misdiagnose. An inflamed nerve doesn’t show up on an X-ray, and your pain can be explained by other issues, like a muscle strain. Symptoms of nerve damage can vary depending on the patient and the specific problem affecting the nerve:
- A pinched or compressed nerve can alternate between pain and numbness.
- The pain of a damaged nerve is often described as searing or burning, while other types of pain may be duller.
- A tingling or “pins and needles” sensation, similar to how you feel when your foot falls asleep and you try to wake it back up, can happen when pressure on the nerve is temporarily relieved.
- Over time, nerve damage can become permanent, and you may find that you have more numbness and less pain. In some cases, this can also lead to reduced sensation and difficulties with movement.
There are several options for treating nerve pain. If pressure from a misaligned bone is causing damage to the nerve, correcting the subluxation may be helpful. However, if you’ve had this misalignment for a long time, you might have altered your posture and activities in ways that encourage the misalignment to recur, so we may also recommend physical therapy. This will help strengthen the muscles and joints around the misaligned vertebrae to prevent them from drifting out of place again. Sometimes an inflamed nerve can also be treated with regenerative therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma injections or PRP.
See a Hiram Car Accident Chiropractor Today
The sooner you visit a chiropractor after a car accident, the less time you will spend in pain. If you have concerns about your insurance coverage, our office staff will get an estimate for your copay. We’re here to answer questions and help you set up an appointment, so please call (770) 439-6997 now for a consultation about your pain.