If your muscles feel a little sore and stiff because of an auto accident, you may want to see a chiropractor. The jolting force from an accident can destabilize your spine or cause damage to ligaments and muscles, especially the ones that support your neck. Tissue injuries aren't always apparent right away, so even if you were treated at the emergency room, you may find your pain is worse in the following days due to bleeding and swelling from ligament tears, muscle strains, or stress on your spine. A chiropractor may be able to reduce your pain and prevent permanent damage to your back and neck. Here are a few things to know.
Have An Examination Soon After Your Accident
Don't delay your examination. Your chiropractic treatments may be covered by your auto insurance if you begin treatments within the required time frame. Even if you don't feel pain yet, a chiropractor can examine your back and neck, and document the findings in case you need the information for an insurance settlement or lawsuit later on. You may need X-rays or other tests that document the extent of your injuries, and your chiropractor will order these as needed on your initial visit.
Get Advice For Home Treatments
In addition to receiving treatments in the office, a chiropractor can offer advice on how to help heal your back and neck with home treatments. This includes applying ice in the first days to reduce swelling that contributes to pain. Once the swelling goes away, you may be advised to apply heat to your sore muscles to increase blood flow to damaged tissues. You may even be taught exercises that stretch and strengthen muscles that support your spine and neck. Although movement is painful, your neck may heal quicker if you exercise it under supervision. Staying immobile by using a foam collar might make your neck muscles weak and prolong your healing time.
Undergo Spinal Adjustments
Chiropractic treatments can be done in a variety of ways. When you get a treatment, the chiropractor typically applies a quick jolt of force to a specific location along your spine. You may hear a cracking or popping sound and get immediate pain relief or become relaxed. While a single treatment can make you feel better, you'll probably need several treatments over a few weeks or months to heal damage from an auto accident.
Since spinal manipulations involve thrusts on your spine, they may not be suitable if you have osteoporosis or some other bone condition. If that's the case, your chiropractor can give you spinal mobilization treatments instead. These are less forceful movements that gently move your spine back into alignment.
Although back and neck pain are fairly common for a variety of reasons, when the cause is an auto accident, you should seek the treatment and advice of a chiropractor like Citrus Chiropractic Group as soon as you can after the accident. Early treatment may save you from pain that interferes with your life, causes you to miss work, or turns into a chronic condition.