Once major traumatic injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, contusions, and internal injuries have been ruled out by the EMTs it is equally as important to look at possible problems which have occurred in your musculoskeletal system. (Soft tissue damage and misalignment issues).
Often times following an accident your body may be in shock. It is producing dopamine and other chemicals in the brain in order for you to be able to function and you may not feel the damage, pain or soreness yet.
Though pain following a car accident can be felt anywhere in the body, the most common are neck injuries due to the way we are anchored into our vehicles. Though we are strapped in by the body, our heads have to remain mobile. When a car or truck is hit, your neck is whipped in one direction then back the other way. Hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries can affect the soft tissues in the neck as well as intervertebral discs and joint capsules.
Whiplash can be the result.
Whiplash may present itself in the following ways:
Arm pain or numbness
Feeling like you may pass out
Lack of clear thought
Even Depression can be a side effect from a whiplash injury.
Chiropractors are musculoskeletal specialists. Seeing one as soon as you are able to following an accident can help you to heal as expediently as possible while minimizing damage. They will perform a thorough exam and physical assessment including X-rays. If they feel you will benefit from an immediate adjustment they will do so at that time as well as set the best course of treatment going forward. After even a minor accident, the curvatures in the spine are straightened, especially the neck or cervical spine. The soft tissues may heal (often with scar tissue), but the spinal curvature remains straightened. Over time, this may cause osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. This may be prevented if you get your spine evaluated after an injury.
The initial 72-hour period following a crash:
-It is best to remain as calm and still as possible to help reduce the inflammatory reaction your body will be experiencing felt by pain and swelling.
-Icing the painful areas for 10 – 15 minutes at a time every couple of hours will help to limit the pain as well.
-Anti Inflammatory agents such as Turmeric (natural herbal) or natural plant enzymes such as Bromelain or Papain can do wonders to help combat discomfort. Though it may be tempting to reach for over the counter anti-inflammatories such as Aleve (Naproxen) please know that NSAIDs have been shown to actually slow the healing process whereas the natural enzymes speed recovery.
– Arnica Montana – A homeopathic for bruising and muscle soreness may be beneficial as well. It is taken sublingually every 2-4 hours until symptoms begin to subside.
-Meditation has also been known to help alleviate pain, at least temporarily and can offer some relief.
-Rest helps to promote healing.
-After an accident, similar to working out with weights, you will experience more pain or soreness, two to three days after the accident. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
In the days and weeks following the accident, you will very likely visit your doctor for follow-up visits. They may also recommend additional treatments such as ultrasound therapy, massage therapy, and stretching exercises you can do on your own at home.
If you have been in an accident or know someone who has – though the sooner the better on treatment, there is no time limit. Even older injuries can be helped through chiropractic care. Give us a call 239-947-1177 or visit www.chiropractorbonitasprings.com