Back Pain After A Car Accident? Chiropractic Might Help

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

March 3, 2022

Should I go to a Chiropractor After an Accident?

Video games and Hollywood films glorify automobile chases, car collisions, car leaping, and other death- defying feats. Actors go away unscathed after these death-defying collisions.

These movies and video  games give the impression that no one is ever wounded in an accident. The reality is that back pain after a  car car accident is very likely to occur.

In actuality, vehicle accidents damage nearly 2.3 million individuals in the United States each year. That’s  more people than the state of New Mexico’s whole population. Vehicle injuries are on the increase throughout the globe, costing more than $43 billion each year.

It is not unusual to feel pain after a car accident, although it is frequent. Although it is not natural to have high blood pressure, it is widespread in the United States. Your back should not ache in normal  circumstances, so if you feel lower back discomfort following a vehicle accident, that’s a red sign.

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CAR ACCIDENTS RESULT IN COMMON BACK INJURIES

Automobile accidents often result in low back injuries. Low back discomfort was reported by 40 percent to 48 percent of all neck whiplash patients. It’s a common misperception that your seat protects your lower back from car accidents. Regrettably, this is not the case.

The low back, or lumbar spine, moves in various directional planes due to the power of the impact. The lumbar spine not only travels forward, backward, side to side, or rotates, but it also moves up and down  like a spring. The pelvis is anchored to the seat by the lap belt, which causes the up and down movement.

Seat belts save lives. However, the lap belt predisposes the low back to damage by attaching the pelvis to  the automobile seat. Because it supports one shoulder, the shoulder harness imposes higher rotational  pressures on the spine. Intervertebral discs, low back joints, facet joints, vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments  are subjected to multiple stresses.

Because the low back lacks rib attachments, it is more susceptible to damage than the mid- back. Because  there isn’t much metal between the passenger and the hit vehicle, direct side- impacts may be very severe.

Surprisingly, even a small vehicle accident may result in back discomfort and injuries. According to the  researchers, a 15.5 mph rear-end accident caused roughly 1600 pounds of force between the pelvis and  the back seat.

Low back injuries are typical vehicle accident injuries, as previously mentioned. In a car collision, soft  tissue injuries are the most prevalent form of low back injury. The low back has seven muscles that allow  us to bend, twist, and maintain an upright posture.

Muscle injuries occur when a muscle is overstretched, squeezed by impacting an object, or contracts fast.  Muscular injuries are discomfort with movement, reduced range of motion, muscle weakening, muscle tightness, muscle soreness, and bruising. A muscular spasm occurs when a muscle remains tensed.  Muscle spasms are the body’s effort to splint the affected region and protect it from further harm.

Muscle injuries normally recover the fastest due to the abundant blood flow, but therapeutic activities  should still be included to avoid scar tissue development. Scar tissue is a kind of muscle fiber that is  poorly developed and does not perform well as regular muscle tissue. Scar tissue may be avoided with  proper exercise and stretching. Scar tissue that is too thick may cause persistent discomfort and restricted movement.

LIGAMENT DAMAGE

Ligaments are the connective tissue that holds bones together. The ligaments that hold the bones together  may rip or become overstretched when joints are stretched too far. Ligament rips are most often linked with pain and edema. Ligament injuries take longer to heal than muscle injuries because ligaments have a lower blood supply.

Facet joints are the joints in the low back. These joints are filled with fluid and serve to link the bones. Your vertebrae may move because of the facet joints. In the event of an accident, the joint capsule might  become overstretched. Facet joint inflammation is often caused by joint tension. Reduced range of  motion, acute pinpoint low back pain, and discomfort that intensifies while stretching backward or standing straight are the most typical symptoms of facet joint injuries.

A herniated intervertebral disc is another frequent vehicle accident injury. The cushion-like discs that  reside between the vertebrae in the back are known as intervertebral discs. Herniated discs in the low back  may cause discomfort in the lower back and numbness or weakness in the legs. A herniated disc may put  pressure on the spinal nerves or possibly the spinal cord.

Injuries to the low back, such as fractures or fractured bones, are less prevalent. The vertebrae in the back may occasionally fracture as a result of car accidents. When a fracture occurs due to an automobile accident, the pain is generally severe and worsens withstanding. Swelling and muscular spasms are common side effects.

Sciatica is discomfort that runs down the back of the leg as a consequence of a low back injury. When the  spinal nerves L4 to S3 are damaged, sciatica may develop. Sciatica may also be caused by muscular  spasms in the hip and buttock region, pinching the nerve and causing pain to radiate down the leg.

SYMPTOMS

Inability to regulate bowel or bladder functions, trouble walking, leg weakness, numbness in the pelvic  region, tingling down the legs, severe low back pain, or sexual dysfunction are more significant low back  injury symptoms.

If you have had any of the symptoms above as a result of your vehicle accident, you should visit an emergency department right away. This might indicate catastrophic spinal cord damage called cauda  equina syndrome, which can lead to lifelong paralysis. Seek medical help right away.

FACTORS AT RISK

Some individuals are more prone to harm than others. Risk factors are qualities that account for the various consequences of an event. Stronger, younger, and more muscular people, for example, will be  able to withstand the force of a car collision better than weaker, less muscular, or older people. Each  individual is unique, and the consequences of pressures on the body have various effects on different  persons.

If you are female, have a prior history of injury, have less muscle mass, have a lower positioned head  restraint, are out of position (not sitting straight and looking forward) when the car crash occurs, have  your head turned, are not aware of the impending impact, are over 40, are involved in a frontal or side- impact collision, or are struck by a vehicle of greater mass, you are more likely to be injured and sustain  more injury.

The narrowing of the spinal canal or the intervertebral foramen, these are the nerve’s canal flows, is also a major risk factor. People with spinal stenosis already have difficulties with their backs, so adding further  harm to an already damaged region is a bad idea.

SHOULD I VISIT A CHIROPRACTOR?

Make an appointment with a chiropractor if you’re experiencing back discomfort as a result of a vehicle accident.

Lower back discomfort caused by vehicle accidents is effectively treated by chiropractors. Chiropractors, or chiropractic physicians, are educated to treat and diagnose low back problems and see a lot of patients involved in accidents. The drug-free chiropractic technique helps to reduce the abuse of extremely  addictive opioid pain relievers.

In the United States, opioid addiction has become pandemic. Unfortunately, many drug addictions begin  with a patient taking medicine for low back pain, leading to dependency and addiction. Chiropractors assist patients in healing from vehicle accident injuries using non- invasive, drug-free methods.

Treatment for low back injuries varies depending on which components are affected, how far along the injury is, and how severe the injury is.

After a comprehensive examination and suitable diagnoses, treatment suggestions may be provided. The  acute stage and the chronic or post-acute stage are the two phases of injury. The acute stage is the first  stage of injury that occurs soon after an event. The acute stage lasts during the first 48 hours following the  injury. Most healthcare practitioners strive to reduce pain and inflammation during the acute stage of an  injury. Healthcare practitioners seek to assist the patient to operate better in the post-acute period.

Various therapeutic approaches are often employed at various stages of damage. It is critical to get  treatment as soon as possible to speed up the healing process and prevent the illness from worsening. It is also critical to complete therapy to properly heal from the damage.

TREATMENTS WITH THE CHIROPRACTOR

In the office, a chiropractor may conduct the following procedures:

Chiropractic adjustments help with healthy spinal alignment and spinal segment function. It is usual for  the spine to become more rigid and stiff after a car accident damage. Adjustments to the spine may assist enhance mobility and returning the spine to its normal position.

After an automobile accident, electric stimulation is often used to assist reduce pain. On the back, little pads with electrodes connected are inserted. The pads carry a moderate electrical current through them,  which helps to alleviate muscle spasms and discomfort.

Ultrasound treatment generates a moderate heat in the muscles, which aids in circulation and healing.

Traction is used to help the spine move more freely. It improves the gliding of poorly functioning facet  joints, reduces scar tissue development in muscles surrounding the spine, and reduces nerve pressure.

Stretching for therapeutic purposes is used to enhance range of motion, improve low back function,  extend tight muscles, and reduce muscular atrophy.

Therapeutic activities are critical in assisting injured muscles in becoming stronger to better support the  spine. Exercise also encourages the regeneration of stronger muscular tissue.

Manual therapy, like massage, is used to assist reduce scar tissue, enhance range of motion, and reduce  muscle stiffness and spasms.

In the early phases of therapy, lumbar support belts or back braces are utilized to enhance low back stability and avoid excessive movement.

The low back muscles may not be strong enough to support the patient standing upright in the early  phases of therapy. Back braces may help individuals perform more effectively. Consider a lumbar support  brace to be a set of ‘training wheels.’

The number of drivers in the United States increased from 112 million in 1970 to 225 million in 2016. With more cars on the road, there is a greater chance of being involved in an accident. As the number of  drivers on the road grows, so will the number of car accidents and back injuries. Injury to the low back  has a significant impact.

Every year, about 264 million days are missed due to back ailments. For every full-time  worker in the United States, this equates to two days. The most prevalent cause of disability is low back injuries. People with back pain have a hard time keeping down a job not just because they are in pain and can’t move effectively but also because they have sleep problems and mental problems. For many people, a low back  injury means losing their job and being reliant on others.

STEPS TO FOLLOW

Low back injuries must be thoroughly assessed and treated. Because chiropractors offer drug- free and non-invasive treatments, it is critical to consult a skilled chiropractor following a low back injury. These

therapies are efficient in providing relief and assisting you in your rehabilitation. Physicians of chiropractic, certified healthcare practitioners, may refer patients to other doctors if an injury needs  immediate attention. After an injury, the first thing you should do is see a chiropractor. Make an  appointment with our Lake Worth clinic now if you’re experiencing back pain due to a vehicle accident.

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