Car Accident Chiropractor in Tucker
Many people need chiropractic care after a car accident. A vehicle collision, even at low speeds, can be hard on your back, neck, shoulders, or other areas of the musculoskeletal system. Common complaints following car crashes include neck pain or whiplash, back pain, shoulder pain, muscle stiffness, and limited range of motion in the affected area (such as difficulty turning your head from side to side due to neck pain).
Why is Getting Care After a Car Accident So Complicated?
Often people think of getting treatment after a car wreck as a straight, simple line: You get hurt in an accident, you go to the doctor or hospital, you get treatment, and you feel better. But for many people, this isn’t the reality. Here are some of the issues that can complicate care:
Not Knowing You Need Treatment
This surprises some people, but it’s a prevalent problem. Car accidents are sudden and can be scary, which triggers the production of adrenaline, one of your body’s stress hormones. Among other functions that help you with “fight or flight,” adrenaline also decreases your ability to feel pain. As a result, some patients who are injured in car crashes don’t realize it right away. Additionally, some injuries become more painful later on as the body starts the healing process, and swelling and inflammation kick in.
Because of these effects, it’s not unusual for a person to think they are uninjured after an accident, but develop pain and other symptoms a few hours to a few days later. This can complicate your ability to make a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company, as insurance adjusters will often argue that if you were really hurt in the accident, you would have seen a doctor sooner. While this is frustrating, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you fight back against the insurance carrier. In the meantime, we recommend seeking care from a chiropractor as soon as you realize you’re in pain.
Concerns About Paying for Treatment
Another reason people sometimes delay care after an accident is that they’re worried about medical costs. Even with good insurance, a visit to the emergency room can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get treatment.
In many cases, you can seek compensation for your costs from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. If you think the accident might have been your fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer about your options. Frequently people are wrong about the cause of an accident, and may even think it was their fault when it wasn’t. Additionally, it is possible to make a mistake when driving and be partially at fault, but still collect damages from the other party under Georgia’s comparative negligence statutes. Essentially, if the other party was mostly at fault (more than 50 percent), you can still recover at least some of your damages.
However, waiting to seek treatment for your injuries will still make it more difficult to prove that your injuries resulted from your car accident. The sooner you see a chiropractor about your pain, the better. If you have concerns about up-front costs, please contact our office, and our staff can estimate your co-pay. Most health insurance policies cover chiropractic care for neck and back pain after an accident, and your attorney will seek compensation for the amount that isn’t covered.
Thinking Your Injuries Are Minor and Will Heal on Their Own
Sometimes, this turns out to be true, but in other situations, an injured person may wait several weeks before finally realizing that their pain isn’t getting any better. By this time, it is much more difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by a car accident and not another incident that occurred later. It may also take longer for treatment to reduce your pain and restore your range of motion if you’ve waited for a while. If you have pain following a car accident, even if it seems minor, we recommend seeing a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Common Car Accident Injuries
A variety of injuries are possible depending on the type of car accident, but here are some of the more common injuries we see in our chiropractic clinic:
Neck Pain or Whiplash
A sore neck is very common after a car accident. Most crashes involve a car suddenly slowing or stopping, either because the driver is trying to avoid the collision, or because colliding with another vehicle is a slowing factor. In both instances, the vehicle rapidly reduces speed, but the people inside continue to move forward at the previous speed. Fortunately, seat belts protect us from the most serious injuries we might have in this situation, like being thrown forward into the windshield. However, a seat belt doesn’t stop your head from moving forward at the same pace, but because the seat belt stops your body, your head will eventually be jerked backward. This is what leads to strain and sometimes small tears in the neck muscles, also known as whiplash.
Emergency room doctors are mainly concerned with making sure that neck pain isn’t caused by a potentially serious injury like a neck fracture. They will take X-rays, and once they’re sure that nothing is broken, they will probably discharge you (unless you have other significant injuries that require treatment). Usually, the ER doctor will either prescribe a mild pain reliever or recommend you use ice and over-the-counter medications.
If your pain persists for more than a week or two, you may visit your regular doctor. They might also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, or they could prescribe other medications, but these don’t always work well. Some people find the side effects unbearable or don’t get the relief they need. Opioid medications are now heavily regulated and don’t work well for many people. The primary concerns are the risk of addiction and side effects like nausea and drowsiness that can make it difficult for you to function. Unfortunately, these and other prescription medications are the only options most doctors have to treat chronic neck pain.
But at Optimum Health Rehab, our chiropractic care experts will diagnose your neck pain and create a treatment plan that may combine several alternative therapies, including:
- Chiropractic adjustment. Although people most frequently associate it with back pain, a chiropractic adjustment is often useful for patients with neck pain as well. The method of action is the same: The chiropractor locates an area of misalignment, usually of the vertebrae in or near the neck, then they apply a sudden, controlled force to nudge the vertebrae back into alignment. You may need some follow-up sessions to prevent the vertebrae from slipping back out of place.
- Physical therapy. Our team will devise a set of exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck muscles over time. These work best if you do the at-home exercises as prescribed in between sessions in our office. Your therapist may also advise you on changing your posture, as this can have an effect on neck pain.
- Pain management injections. Sometimes physical therapy is difficult because you’re in too much pain to move your neck freely. If this is the case, an injection to relieve the inflammation in your neck may allow you to work on physical and other therapies with less pain and stiffness.
- Neurology services. If your neck pain is caused or exacerbated by a pinched nerve in the cervical spine, there may be several possible treatments. Sometimes a chiropractic adjustment can help take pressure off the nerve. Other therapies may be aimed at reducing inflammation around or healing the nerve. In cases of persistent pain, we may also try electrical stimulation to disrupt pain signals between nerves and the brain.
Back pain is also common after car accidents and for many of the same reasons: Vertebrae in the spine become misaligned, nerves can be pinched or compressed, and muscle tears or myofascial knots may also cause pain. Many of the same treatments used for neck pain are also effective for back pain, including spinal manipulation to correct misaligned vertebrae.
Shoulder pain following a car accident could have multiple causes, but one common cause is the seatbelt digging into the shoulder in a crash. This may lead to a muscle injury or contribute to a misalignment in the cervical spine, and it’s not unusual to have both neck and shoulder pain. Additionally, sometimes shoulder pain is referred from the spine or other areas. Your Optimum Health Rehab specialist will work to accurately diagnose and treat your shoulder pain.
Contact a Tucker Car Accident Chiropractor Today
Our office staff is eager to take your call and help you schedule an appointment to evaluate your car accident injury. We’ll carefully document your injuries so your personal injury lawyer can easily use your records to fight for compensation for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at (404) 793-1600 today.