A car accident is a traumatic event that cause residual effects on your body for weeks, months and even years. To make sure you properly recover, it takes time to address how you’re feeling after the accident. Although each person is different and can have different injuries, we are going to discuss the common injuries to be aware of after a car accident. It’s important to know what these are because many people wonder if what they experience after a car accident is normal. Although each car accident has its own unique conditions, such as the angle of the collision and the position of where each person is located during the crash, there are several similar signs and symptoms of patients after a car accident. We’re going to discuss four common neck injuries that occur.
Soreness in the neck
After the initial whiplash, the muscles try to protect the spine and decrease more trauma to the area. With that development the muscles do not return to their normal length which can soreness or discomfort. Bottom line: After the initial trauma the body tries to compensate to the affected areas which can cause feelings of tightness, loss of motion (hard to turn your neck), and possible tension headaches.
Tightness in the mid and lower back
Although most people complain primarily of neck pain, the accident has a ripple effect on the body and a person usually makes compensation to posture after the accident without noticing. Similar to a pebble being dropped in a calm lake, when an accident affects the body the effects might start at the neck but they can ripple down the body and also effect the mid-back and low back.
The middle of the spine, the thoracic spine, might feel very tight and even sitting in chair might feel difficult at times. With the change of length of the muscles due to tightening, it can feel like your shoulders are ‘locked’ and rotating side to side can be difficult. The mid back and the low back (lumbar spine) can also be aggravated after the incident. The reason that low back can be involved is that an accident can shift the pelvis during impact. After such big changes, the entire top of your body is being supported by the lumbar spine in a seated position.
What can elevate these signs and symptoms? It’s important to follow up with your neck pain doctor and medical team. By having a holistic approach from your medical team that comprises of a chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapist can help address all portions of your body.
Why is a holistic plan beneficial? By adding three modalities from three different fields, each field can add their own benefits. For example, a chiropractor specializes on the proper alignment of the bones after the car accident; a massage therapist focuses on the soft tissue that is connected to the bones; and a physical therapist helps the patient strengthen the affected area, which will reduce the risk of re-aggravating the area of injury in the future. With these three areas working together not only will it help the patient in the short term but add strategies for the patient to feel better for years after the accident.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Advanced Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into sports related injuries.