If you have been a victim of a car accident, you are probably going through a lot. Even in minor crashes, you often have to deal with exchanging information with the other drivers, filing an insurance claim, getting any vehicle damage fixed, and missing work.
Another thing that is common in many accidents is injury. Even if your car hit another at a slow speed, there is a good chance you need auto accident injury treatment.
Ignoring symptoms, even minor ones, can result in chronic pain, lingering issues, or more injury susceptibility in the future. At Mount Prospect Health Center, our healthcare professionals understand what injuries are common from a car crash and how to treat them.
They can evaluate your symptoms and injuries to determine how to fix them effectively for long-term health.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Many people think that injuries only occur in major crashes where there is severe damage to the vehicles involved. However, this is not always the case.
Yes, injuries are almost a given in a serious accident, and they often require emergency medical attention. However, even a minor fender bender can result in injuries.
In fact, in low-speed crashes, the body tends to take the brunt of the force, resulting in damage to the soft tissues and nerves. This leads to a variety of symptoms.
Around 20% of people involved in a car accident have some sort of injury. The type of injury varies based on the various factors involved in a crash, including speed, the direction of the force of the collision and area of the body affected.
A car accident injury sustained in a rear-end impact may differ from those from a side-impact crash. Some common injuries that occur in a crash include:
Pain, whiplash, muscle sprains, and othe neck problems can develop right after certain kinds of crashes. Whiplash occurs when a crash, normally a rear-ended accident, causes the head to move violently forwards and backward. This damages the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves in the neck and base of the skull.
Common symptoms related to whiplash include headaches, neck stiffness, neck pain, dizziness, shoulder tenderness, fatigue, range of motion loss, difficulty concentrating, and tingling in the arms or hands. This injury is one of the most common reasons people seek auto accident injury treatment.
Injuries to the spine
Another reason to visit an auto accident doctor is to treat spinal injuries. The same force that causes whiplash can also affect other areas of the spinal column.
An accident often causes the vertebrae in the neck and back to misalign, which can cause numerous problems. A crash can also affect the discs in between the vertebrae.
This can result in disc bulges, herniations, and ruptures. Common symptoms include neck and low back pain, limited mobility, muscle spasms, numbness, and tingling. Severe pain over a specific vertebra could indicate a fracture, in which case you should seek medical treatment right away.
Soft tissue injuries likes contusions and bruises are not uncommon after an accident. These can occur from slamming against the seatbelt or hitting another object in your vehicle. These are generally minor injuries and result in red/purplish skin and on-site tenderness for about a week.
Injuries to the head occur when the force of the accident is great enough to cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull. This can result in damage to the blood vessels and neurons in the brain. A traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion may include a brief loss of consciousness, headache, drowsiness, blurred vision, and loss of balance. These typically go away with time and treatment from a car accident doctor. Moderate and severe TBIs require emergency treatment and long-term rehabilitation.
Fractures may occur if there is a violent force affecting your spinal bones. Some common broken bones after an accident include arm, wrist and ribs.
It is not uncommon to experience mental or emotional changes after an accident. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after a crash, especially a serious one.
Symptoms may include distressing dreams, refusal to drive, irritability, feeling detached from others, and sleep issues.
Internal bleeding occurs when there is damage to underlying organs. This injury is more common in collisions involving high speeds.
Signs may not show up immediately, and some common ones include abdominal pain, weakness, bruising around the navel, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, swelling, vomiting, and blood in the urine. This injury is life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment Right Away
Most people have no problem seeking treatment after a more serious accident, as symptoms are very apparent, and some may be life-threatening. However, it is not uncommon for crash victims to avoid making an appointment with a car accident doctor after minor accidents.
One of the reasons is that the symptoms may also be minor, and they do not interfere with daily life. Another reason that people do not seek car accident treatment is that there is a delay of some symptoms, often by days or even weeks.
The problem with ignoring symptoms and forgoing treatment is that the injury does not go away on its own, even if the symptoms eventually dissipate. If the underlying damage to the ligaments, tendons, spinal discs, or nerves remains untreated, this can lead to more serious issues.
In fact, joint problems commonly crop up months or years after an accident. Around 12% of arthritis cases are due to a traumatic experience, often caused by an accident. By seeking care right away, a patient can avoid chronic joint and spinal injuries.
How Chiropractic Can Help with Auto Accident Injury Treatment
If you have never been to a chiropractor before, you may not consider seeing one to help treat accident injuries. However, chiropractic takes a different approach to healing than many medical practitioners do.
Rather than covering up symptoms, a chiropractor finds the cause of the symptoms and fixes it. Chiropractic is a natural approach to car accident treatment, and it works with your body to improve its healing abilities.
When you make a chiropractic appointment, the first thing the car accident chiropractor will do is sit down and have a consultation with you. This is your opportunity to discuss your auto accident injuries and what symptoms you have had since the crash, as well as any that you may have had prior to the accident.
The chiropractor will ask about your health history and any concerns you may have.
The chiropractor will then conduct a thorough exam of your spine. Because all of the nerves that help your body function come from the spinal cord and receive protection from the spinal bones, a chiropractor looks for areas of the spine that are not in their correct position.
When spinal misalignments occur, they put pressure on the corresponding nerves. Along with checking for spinal misalignments, the chiropractor may also measure your ranges of motion and conduct additional neurological tests.
Once the chiropractor understands what the causes of your symptoms are, you will receive a recommended treatment plan. One of the main parts of treatment is adjustments. An adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation, is a specific way of moving spinal bones back into their original position so there is a relief of nerve pressure.
Other treatment methods may include muscle work or exercises to help strengthen the injured areas of the spine.
Because chiropractic focuses on fixing the main cause of the problem, it takes more than one visit to get better. The chiropractor will outline a series of adjustments based on the severity of the injury.
Although symptoms should start to go away fairly quickly after you start chiropractic care, especially if you seek treatment right away, complete healing of the nerves and soft tissues can take months.
How Physical Therapy Can Help with Motor Vehicle Accident Treatment
Chiropractic is very effective at healing accident injuries. However, physical therapy is great to have in conjunction with getting your spine realigned. Many people who see both a chiropractor and physical therapist tend to feel better quickly and begin functioning normally sooner than they would if they just went to one or the other.
One of the goals of physical therapy is to help eliminate or manage pain. A physical therapist also works with clients to restore muscle balance, improve mobility, strengthen muscles and improve function.
After conducting a consultation and exam, a physical therapist will also recommend a treatment plan based on the injuries and the patient’s goals. Some of the treatment methods may include massage therapy, exercises and cold or hot therapy.
Contact Us Today to See how We can Help
If you are suffering with symptoms from a car accident, it is important that you seek auto accident injury treatment as soon as possible. At Mount Prospect Health Center, our chiropractor and physical therapist both have extensive training in treating auto accidents, and a wealth of other, injuries. We accept NJ PIP (Personal Injury Protection), NY no-fault, workers’ compensation, and other insurance plans.
Contact us to set up a consultation so we can figure out the most effective way to eliminate your symptoms and heal your underlying injuries.