Car Accident Treatments in Tucker
Car accident injuries are common, but many people delay getting treatment or have difficulty finding a solution that resolves their symptoms without side effects. We often treat people who experience back, neck, shoulder, or other musculoskeletal pain following a car crash, and in many cases, they have been in pain for several weeks or months. We recommend seeing a chiropractor for your Tucker car accident treatment as soon as possible after your accident because waiting to seek care could prolong the healing process.
How Do You Treat Car Accident Injuries?
Many injured people experience frustration following a car accident as they try to find solutions for their pain. If you went to the emergency room, you were probably screened for serious injuries like broken bones, concussions, and internal bleeding. It’s important to be checked out for those complications.
But when it comes to treating pain, emergency room doctors don’t have as many tools at their disposal. Prior to the opioid epidemic, they would often write a prescription for narcotic pain relievers and hope you felt better by the time it was finished. Now they’re more likely to prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers, rest, and an ice pack. These measures may be effective for patients whose pain clears up after a few days, but for some car accident victims, it doesn’t. Further doctor visits may lead to prescriptions for non-narcotic medications that aren’t habit-forming, but may still have other unpleasant side effects. They also may not be effective, and even if they are, they don’t treat the underlying cause of your pain.
Chiropractic and Wellness Treatments for Car Accident Pain
At Optimum Health Rehab, we work hard to identify the root cause or causes of your post-car accident pain. Our diagnostic suite includes X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and nerve conduction testing. We also take a medical history, ask about your pain, and perform a physical exam to get a better idea of the source of your discomfort. Once we’ve arrived at a diagnosis, we’ll recommend a treatment plan to help you resolve your pain and other symptoms. Some potential therapies include:
Whether you have pain in your back, neck, shoulder, or other joints, there’s a good chance a chiropractic adjustment may help. Also called spinal manipulation, chiropractic care seeks to solve a variety of symptoms by correcting misalignments in the spine.
What Causes Spinal Misalignments?
The simplest answer is “life.” Spinal misalignments can occur from lifting a too-heavy object, sleeping in a funny position, or even from physical or emotional stress. However, in the case of car accidents, they usually happen due to the impact of the crash. A seat belt will help prevent you from being thrown out of your vehicle in an accident, but you may still be jarred from the force of another vehicle hitting yours. This sudden impact can easily cause vertebrae in the back or neck to slip out of alignment, leading to pain that sometimes lasts for weeks or months after the accident.
How Does Spinal Manipulation Help After a Car Accident?
For your treatment, we will position you on a special table that allows us to adjust your position as needed. Next, we will find the misalignments and correct them using a sudden, controlled force. This is not painful and only takes a few seconds. Frequently people feel some measure of pain relief very quickly after an adjustment, but in some cases, you may need several treatments as well as other therapies. Some patients also have muscle pain in addition to vertebral misalignments and may benefit from additional therapies to achieve the best results. Repeated sessions also allow us to course correct if the misalignment recurs, which is more likely with older injuries because the vertebrae may drift out of alignment again.
What About Whiplash and Neck Pain?
Whiplash, or neck strain, is a common injury in car accidents, caused by the head snapping forward and back violently during a crash. Some cases resolve on their own with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications for pain. But for many people, the pain persists. If you follow up with your doctor, they may have the following recommendations to treat your discomfort:
- Muscle relaxers. These may be temporarily useful if your muscles have tightened up due to disuse because of pain. But they can also cause side effects like drowsiness and are not a good long-term treatment. Additionally, some people get little to no relief from them.
- Injections. Sometimes steroids or numbing medication are injected into the neck to relieve pain, but this is a short-term treatment used to help patients who have too much pain or stiffness to do physical therapy.
- Anticonvulsants. Some anticonvulsants, like gabapentin, may be useful in relieving neck pain caused by a nerve issue. These also have potentially serious side effects and are not helpful for all types of pain.
It is not unusual for neck pain caused by a misalignment in the cervical vertebrae to be diagnosed as whiplash, which is a strain in the neck muscles. However, it is also possible to have muscle damage in the neck and vertebral misalignment. This is why a proper diagnosis is so important.
If we do detect any misalignments in the cervical vertebrae, we will perform an adjustment. Additionally, we may recommend other therapies for muscle or nerve pain.
Physical therapy is designed to help people recovering from injuries recapture lost function or range of motion. This is a common issue with whiplash or other injuries where the injured person may not be able to move the way they normally do for an extended period of time.
Physical therapy is also an excellent diagnostic tool, allowing us to see the areas where you’ve lost function so that we can devise a plan to help you get back to your usual self. Once we’ve observed your current abilities, we’ll walk you through a series of exercises to strengthen key muscles and ligaments while boosting flexibility. Your therapist may help by providing resistance or assisting you with stretching as you exercise.
We’ll also prescribe some exercises that can be done at home with no or limited equipment. These make up a large part of your recovery, so it’s important that you do them as directed and on the schedule set by your physical therapist. If you’re having difficulty because of pain, stiffness, or another issue, please tell your physical therapist immediately. In many cases, we can help by modifying an exercise or prescribing a pain relief treatment.
Sometimes a car accident can lead to a pinched or compressed nerve, which may be related to a spinal misalignment in some situations. While doctors often attempt to manage this pain with medications that act on the brain, this isn’t the best solution for everyone. Patients frequently tell us that they couldn’t tolerate the side effects of antidepressants or anticonvulsants and had to stop taking them. Opioids aren’t a good long-term solution either, as these drugs can be habit-forming and may also have unpleasant side effects.
In these cases, patients may benefit from a neurological evaluation and possibly treatment. Here are some of the services that may help with your pain after a car accident:
Nerve Conduction Studies
Nerve conduction studies are performed to determine if a patient has suffered nerve damage. In a car accident, there are many ways that nerves may be damaged, including herniated discs or misaligned bones compressing or pinching a nerve. If we believe this might be the case, we’ll do a study using two electrodes in the area where we believe the nerve damage is. This test uses a very low voltage current, which is passed from one electrode to another. The amount of time it takes is measured, and if it is longer than normal, you may have nerve damage.
Treating Nerve Pain
If we find evidence that a nerve is compressed, we may be able to treat the problem by relieving the pressure. For example, a spinal manipulation could take pressure off a nerve in or near the back, such as the sciatic nerve. A compressed nerve in the cervical spine could contribute to neck pain, and we can adjust that as well.
In some cases, long-term nerve damage may not go away completely once the source of compression is removed. Unfortunately, some nerve damage can be permanent. However, there are still options for treating the resulting pain.
This is a therapy that attempts to interrupt pain signals as they go back and forth between the nerves and the brain. It’s achieved through the use of electrodes that are placed on the skin in the affected area and attached to a device, such as a TENS unit. A low-voltage current is run through the electrodes at a frequency that confuses the nerves and blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. TENS units may benefit patients with back, neck, muscle, and neuropathic pain after a car accident.