There are millions of car accidents that occur in the United States each year and many of those in our area come to see a chiropractor in Rochester. Those that are hit from behind may end up suffering serious neck injuries from a condition called Whiplash. These conditions are very serious and if left untreated can result in a lifetime of chronic tightness and pain. Let’s talk about why these injuries are so common in car accidents, what chiropractic can do for you, and a timetable for your recovery from this traumatic event.
The neck is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body during a car accident. While the body is held in place by a seatbelt, the head and neck are unrestrained and the impact will cause the neck to jerk back and forth. The sudden movement can cause damage to any of the muscles, ligaments, and blood vessels through the head and neck. You may feel fine a few hours after the crash but symptoms can set in a few days after the crash. You may start to experience soreness and stiffness but in severe cases, there may be numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers. Do not ignore any symptoms, even if minor, after an accident. Untreated neck injuries can easily lead to chronic pain and long-term complications.
Treatment of these injuries can be different depending on the severity of the initial injury. If the small ligaments in the neck are severely sprained, the bones in the neck may be moving more than they should be. An unstable bone will cause the muscles in the neck to guard the injury by tightening up. This reflex by the body is an attempt to prevent the bone from moving too much and further damaging the ligaments. Unfortunately, the tight muscles can also cause a lot of pain and the lack of mobility slows down the healing process.
Chiropractors will treat these injuries by relaxing muscles and restoring motion to the neck. The road to recovery will be a very different timeline for each person. For reference, a simple ankle sprain can take 6 to 8 weeks to fully heal. The neck is a significantly more complicated structure. After receiving treatment, a person can expect to feel around 80% better within the first 4-6 weeks, but it is possible it may be up to 10 months before they are 100% better. Factors that affect this recovery timeline are the severity of the accident as well as your consistency with the treatment and prescribed stretches/exercises.
Every insured driver in New York State has medical expenses covered under the no-fault law. Here at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, our office staff is well versed in the no-fault process. We can help you fill out the appropriate paperwork and get you in to see a Rochester chiropractor as quickly as possible. If you suspect your car accident is causing some neck pain or discomfort, don't hesitate to give our office a call.