Auto accidents can be a game-changer. Whether it is a fender bender or a total collision, your day, your car, and most importantly, your body is not the same as they were before.
The most common and total symptoms you will experience are the side effects of whiplash: a neuro-musculoskeletal injury that encompasses whole areas of your spine. The cervical spine and head are nearly always affected. The worse the injury to your body, the more likely you will feel worse three days to a week later. This is called DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. If your car received little to no damage, the physics and forces of the accident actually got transmitted to your body. When the car is totaled, it takes the brunt of the force, but at those speeds, you are usually left with a huge jolt, and often this is a more complicated issue.
Of course, make sure you get medically cleared as necessary at the time of the accident. If you are coming straight to our office with no prior treatment, expect to get a thorough exam, likely X-rays, and therapy with your treatment if the prior clears. We will need to know about any concussions, injuries to the head, or airbag release. If you are a woman, you would have likely taken the airbag to the face as they were designed for a taller male frame to hit more in the chest. This could actually cause a minor concussion.
Tissue damage left untreated will change the structure of how your spine develops over the history of your life. If you have children in the car, it is important that they get evaluated and realigned because they will continue to grow as is, and after an accident, it could have life-long effects. Babies in car seats also can receive whiplash to the head and neck but be unable to tell you. Increases in irritability, sleep issues, feeding issues, and hitting their own head or grabbing their ears would actually be obvious signs of distress within a week of the injury.
Minor sprain strains to the cervical region often take months to heal, let alone a mid or major trauma. What you have to remember is that the whole structure of your being was involved and changed.
Untreated car accidents can lead to future headaches, posture issues which have a myriad of symptoms, numbness, tingling, weakness, spasm, and pain. All of these things can be unwound, realigned, re-balanced, and improved with proper chiropractic care and adjustments. It takes time, and it is frustrating. It is worse to go untreated. Degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease develop over 10,20, 30 years, and one car accident can expedite this path. The C5/C6 area is the most mobile vertebrae and disc in the body and is always an issue in car accidents. Getting adjusted in the tight spots above and below this area will help restructure your neck and get you on the path to being pain and symptom-free.