The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that over two million people are injured in car accidents in the United States every year. While the severity of these injuries varies, many share a common source: back injuries caused by rapid deceleration during an accident. While seatbelts and airbags often prevent catastrophic injury and death, the laws of physics make it impossible to prevent all injuries, especially at normal highway speeds.
Chiropractic treatment should be sought as soon as possible after an auto accident, even if you think your back and neck seem okay. If your initial injuries landed you in the hospital, consult with the doctor to see what follow-up steps are recommended. Depending on your injuries, your emergency care doctor may not specifically refer you to a chiropractor, but you should consult with a chiropractor to check for subtle injuries.
Some symptoms may not appear immediately after the accident. If you’re in even slight pain sometime after the accident, chiropractic care should be sought as soon as possible to keep the pain from getting worse. Make sure to mention your auto injury to any chiropractors you visit in the months or even years after the accident, so the chiropractor can safely and accurately correct any problems they find.
Types of Injuries
Possible injuries and symptoms include whiplash, headaches, numbness in extremities, and many other types of pain and discomfort. Spinal discs are fragile and contain many complex tissues, and even slight misalignment can cause pain. Some injuries simply cause pressure or limited mobility at first, but this can quickly escalate into pain as you attempt to continue your daily activities.
Older individuals are more susceptible to back injuries and should be extra careful to seek out chiropractic care soon after an accident. A chiropractor can detect initial signs of injury before pain or discomfort appears. An MRI or other tests may also be necessary to fully clear you for returning to work or other activities.
If you experience any kind of abdominal pain, seek immediate emergency care, as it may be a sign of internal bleeding. While leg and arm injuries can benefit from chiropractic care in some cases, they may require another specialist.
he Role of Painkillers
Some injuries can be managed for short amounts of time with painkillers. However, consistent chiropractic care is critical for managing the root cause of pain. Long-term reliance on painkillers can result in dependency and other significant issues, especially if the initial injury continues to worsen from lack of treatment.
Auto accident injuries cause significant losses to productivity, health, and quality of life across the world. Recovering from one becomes significantly more difficult if diagnosis and treatment are delayed. By partnering with a chiropractor, you can heal your injury faster and avoid loss of livelihood.