As a practicing chiropractor of 35 years I have seen a great number of patients who have suffered needlessly from neck or back pain that originally occurred from a trauma like an auto accident. Once we help them to get rid of their pain with chiropractic care, their frequent comment has been: “I wish I had come here years ago.” This article will discuss the effects of trauma to the body, consequences and what can be done to mitigate the effects.
It is very common to have an auto accident, fall or be struck by something and not feel any immediate pain. This does not mean that our spine did not suffer an injury. It may not start becoming painful until days, weeks or months after the trauma. In fact, research studies show that from 50% to 88% of the people having whiplash from an auto accident continue to suffer years after.
When there is an unexpected sudden trauma from an accident, like whiplash, there can be injury to the soft tissues–muscles, ligaments, tendons and other tissues. If there is a significant accident, I recommend that you first go to an emergency medicine center to make sure there are no life-threatening conditions. However, I’ve seen many times where patients were sent home after x-rays, MRIs or CAT scans found nothing broken or dislocated yet the spine had suffered soft tissue injuries that were not detected by these tests.
Whiplash is a term describing an injury that occurs to a person’s spine, typically their neck. Suddenly and unexpectedly the neck and head are very quickly thrown in one direction and then in the opposite direction. We could say the head is “whipped around” on the neck. This itself be deleterious to the structures of the neck. However additionally, if the head is turned to the right or left a little when the impact occurs this can complicate the effects of the injury. If soft-tissue injuries are not treated the neck and back will not heal properly and may develop problems years later.
To avoid this, I strongly recommend that person be checked to see if there is damage to the spine. If there is not, one can be free from worry. If there is injury, it can be addressed with treatment, quickly, so it doesn’t worsen. Chiropractic care is the most effective form of helping the spine to repair and become healthy. If chiropractic treatment is neglected it could make the difference between health or disability and comfort or pain.