You are sitting at a red light, minding your own business when…wham!… your car is rear-ended by someone not paying attention. Suddenly, your day takes an unexpected turn—gathering information from the person who hit you, towing your car to a body shop, talking with police, answering questions of insurance agents—so much is going on, you don’t even notice that pain until the next day, radiating in your neck and lower back radiating from every muscle, joint and ligament. The pain is so intense; you wonder how you’re going to function. What are your options? Who can you turn to for relief? While you may be inclined to see your regular physician, a chiropractor might be a better answer.
A licensed chiropractor is trained to deal with many of the common injuries sustained in a car accident. The back and neck injuries, whiplash and soreness that accompany a car wreck can sometimes be debilitating and a chiropractor can help you through this painful process. When you first meet with a chiropractor, have a frank discussion about what happened, how you are feeling and what you hope to achieve while working through your pain. Then, having x-rays taken is an important step to uncover any hidden injuries that you may not have noticed just yet. Other side affects you may experience after an automobile accident include headaches, achiness, and soreness in the upper body and shoulder area. These injuries might be the result of whiplash, another result of the crash. Believe it or not, untreated whiplash can develop into long-term health problems like arthritis and degenerative disc disease, so it is important to have an evaluation by a chiropractor as soon as possible after the accident. When you visit a chiropractor, he or she can adjust your spine and neck, if necessary, provide physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and even provide you with nutritional advice to expedite your healing. An experienced chiropractor will complete a comprehensive examination to help with muscle spasms, stress related conditions, and chronic fatigue, all of which can be developments which emerge after a crash. A compassionate, professional doctor will concentrate of effective pain treatment
When going to see a chiropractor, recognize that they cannot perform surgery and cannot prescribe any medication. They can, however, use a variety of techniques to help alleviate the pain. The most common is spinal manipulation or adjustment, where the chiropractor gently applies pressure to a targeted area which forces a popping effect known in Laymen’s terms as “cracking your back”. One adjustment may not be sufficient to correct your problem; you may have to receive multiple adjustments. In addition to relieving pain, spinal manipulation can help to improve muscle function after an automobile accident, and it can also help with movement, circulation and relaxation.
Chiropractors enlist several different types of adjustment techniques, depending upon your needs and area of pain. The Toggle Drop is when the chiropractor crosses his or her hands and asserts pressure onto a particular part of the spine. This procedure helps to adjust the spine and improve mobility. An effective lumber roll, where the chiropractor turns you on your side and places one leg in a bent position and then places a hand on your shoulder to stretch the lumbar area, can loosen the back muscles. A chiropractor an also apply gentle pressure with his or her fingertips to separate the vertebra in a procedure called release work. If you are not receptive to the manipulation treatments, a chiropractor can also use table adjustments, where you lie down on a table and there is a drop piece of the table, eliminating the need for you to twist. This provides you with a lighter adjustment if your range of motion is limited. The doctor can also use a spring loaded activator instrument to administer your adjustment, the gentlest form of adjusting the spine. If none of these methods are working, a chiropractor can apply the methods while you are lightly sedated in a hospital outpatient setting.
Depending upon the chiropractic professional, there are a myriad of other treatments that are available to you. In addition to spinal manipulation, a chiropractor may offer comfortable treatment of the nerve system by therapeutic stretching and exercise, ultrasound therapy, ice and heat therapy and even a procedure called TENS or transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. TENS is utilized when there is nerve related pain and it consists of a machine that emits stimulating pulse waves across the skin’s surface and to the nerve strands. Other chiropractors use cold laser therapy, physiotherapy, and acupuncture and it is best to discuss all your options with your chiropractic professional. Chiropractors can also suggest dietary and nutritional counseling as well as lifestyle modifications, all in an effort to ease pain and get you back on track.
One of the most effective tools in the chiropractor’s arsenal is massage therapy. Massage therapy can accelerate accident recovery and provide consistent injury relief. Furthermore, when used with various other chiropractic methods, massage therapy is an integral part of pain relief. Massage therapy has shown to be beneficial in increasing blood circulation, reducing swelling, relaxing the muscles, relieving muscle pain and spasms. Specific massage and muscular therapy based upon your individual condition and or injury while be determined by the chiropractor.
In case you are wondering—a chiropractor is a doctor! While not considered a “medical doctor”, a chiropractor specializes in neuro-musculoskeletal system and generally have eight years of college. The founder of chiropractic care, D.D. Palmer, called it “a science of healing without drugs”. Chiropractic care is an excellent alternative for those seeking pain alleviation without the use of pharmaceuticals, or a more holistic approach to pain care. Chiropractic care helps in several ways but after an accident, the most important of these is healing the pain. Some car accident victims report up to an 80 percent reduction in discomfort after just a few weeks of chiropractic care. Going to a chiropractor will help restore your mobility. That stiffness and soreness you are experiencing can be all but alleviated so help you regain a full range of motion. Lastly, strengthening your muscles around your spine can improve your flexibility and help you avoid re-injuring yourself. If you’re ready to feel new again, consult a licensed chiropractor.