Car accidents happen all the time, and more often than not, people walk away with little more than minor bumps and bruises. The big problem is that many times, injuries caused in the initial accident can go unnoticed or untreated for too long before the real pain arrives. With adrenaline coursing through your body after an accident, it's easy to miss the signs of injury.
The most common types of injury from a car accident are
- Bruises and cuts– Impacting with objects in the car such as a steering wheel or flying debris can cause serious bruising, along with seat belts. There is also a high probability of broken glass which can lead to lacerations across the body.
- Damage to ligaments and muscles- Soft tissue damage can be serious; damage near the joint can reduce mobility, and if the injury is severe enough, it can need surgery for repair.
- Broken or fractured bones- Legs, ribs, and arms are the most common bones broken in a collision. There is also a risk of dental and facial fracturing caused by high impacts.
- Internal injuries- Internal injuries are the leading cause of fatalities in any accident and should always be treated with the utmost care.
- Head neck and spinal cord injuries- Traumatic brain injuries and whiplash affect the neck and spinal cord. These types of injuries can occur even at relatively low speeds. Around 20% of whiplash injuries were sustained in a car accident, and around 10% of whiplash victims will become permanently disabled by their injury.
- Delayed symptoms- It's crucial to see a doctor after an accident whether or not you feel like you've been injured. Shock and other factors can hide injuries, and, in many cases, the symptoms of some injuries– like whiplash– can take a day or two to be felt.
Timing is everything
How soon after an accident should you seek out help for an injury? The quick answer is as soon as possible. You should at least have a medical professional examine you almost immediately after an accident. It can take some time for inflammation and swelling to appear, so it's easy to think that you've walked away unscathed. The truth is that the body has different response times to different injuries, and it's possible that your injuries are minor at first but can become exasperated quickly without treatment.
It's also a really good idea to have a check up within three days of your accident, so that if you are going to file a claim, the insurance companies or other legal entities won't down play your injury or try to accuse you of falsifying the injury. Also with a check up or exam comes a legally recognized record of your injuries that is hard for the legal system to ignore.
Reasons to seek treatment
Treating unseen injuries caused by an accident is one of the major strong suites of chiropractic care. Headaches, dizziness, soreness, and pain in the upper back and neck are symptoms of whiplash and may not show up immediately after your accident. Chiropractors are trained to spot the symptoms of these types of injury even before the pain sets in. The sooner you start treating the injury, the less pain and discomfort you are likely to experience as a result.
A chiropractor's main job is to care for the alignment of your skeletal system, the nervous system and, indirectly, the muscular system. Injuries cause by trauma, like a sudden impact in a vehicle, are often slow to show their symptoms or will progressively worsen over time without treatment. You could go from a slightly sore neck to chronic neck and back pain quickly.
Inflammation is sneaky, it can hide other injuries or cause your body's alignment to get all out of whack. Micro tears in the ligaments and muscles are one of the main reasons people wake up feeling sore after an accident. Injuries of this nature are almost impossible to catch in an x-ray or examination. Chiropractic care is an excellent way to treat inflammation caused by an accident. Chiropractic adjustments help your body release an anti-inflammatory that aids in your body's natural healing process. Treating the inflammation can also help get you back on your feet sooner by increasing your range of motion.
Opiates and the pain killer epidemic.
Our society is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of using pain killers. Opiates and other prescription pain medications are highly addictive and can have serious side effect. It's also shockingly easy to overdose on prescription medication and could have a fatal outcome. There is also the added risk of even having the prescription in your home with abuse issues running rampant in our society. There has been an alarming rise in prescriptions for the drugs, and there is a link between patients who take or have taken opiates for pain relief and their addiction to these drugs. In 2017, approximately 49,068 deaths were linked directly to opiate overdose. It's hard to feel safe using prescriptions to help manage your pain, but thankfully there is a safe and effective alternative.
The best thing about chiropractic care is that you won't need prescription pain medications. The treatment plans and procedures are virtually pain-free, so there won't be any additional distress on you and your body. Most often, patients feel at least a little relief, if not substantial relief, from their pain after treatment. This is because chiropractic treatments encourage your body to release anti-inflammatory chemicals and pain-reducing hormones. The result of consistent treatments are long lasting, as the goal of chiropractic care is healing the underlying causes of your pain. Taking a pain killer can make you feel fine for a short while, but that doesn't treat the underlying cause of your pain. Painkillers can also mask the symptoms of the injury and they don't help the healing process. Chiropractic adjustments heal the cause of the pain and help prevent the pain from returning.
Chiropractic treatments are non invasive and won't leave you with additional injuries to recover from, like surgical options. But if you wait too long to seek treatment for your injuries, surgical options may be your only choice. Surgery often requires long recuperation periods and recovery can take much longer. With non-invasive adjustments, you won't have stitches and pain medications to worry about. Your down time will be significantly shorter if you have your injuries treated quickly.
Seeking treatment quickly after an injury can also help you avoid the potential for long-term pain. When left untreated, whiplash symptoms have been known to continue for years following an accident. It may not seem that painful or like that big of a deal when the symptoms first appear. The symptoms typically go away within a week or two. Unfortunately, however, some people will suffer long-term complications from their injury. They may experience severe neck pain, pain that spreads to their arms, and they can even be plagued by headaches. You are at a greater risk of injury if you are at an older age, have had previous neck pain, or have experienced whiplash before.
At Smith Chiropractor, we can see you an an emergency basis. If you or a loved one has had an auto accident, please call our office and schedule an immediate appointment. We look forward to helping you recover and get back to life quickly.