Car Wreck Chiropractor | Lakewood Colorado
Auto Accident Treatment Injury Treatment
There are so many variables involved in how an accident occurs, as there are with the individual victim, so it is impossible to predict an exact pattern of symptoms. It may also be the case that injuries are felt within an hour of the accident, or not until weeks or months later. Generally, though, there is an array of conditions that is very often seen after whiplash.
This is the single most common complaint, reported by over 90% of people. Pain often radiates into the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, and into the head. All the tissues in the neck tend to be affected by whiplash, including the muscles, ligaments and nerves, and the facet joints and discs between the vertebrae.
This latter injury is the most common cause of neck pain following a car accident. Facet joint pain is commonly felt on the back of the neck, either side of center, where it’s tender to the touch, but it doesn’t show on x-rays or MRIs. Only physical palpation of that area can point to a diagnosis.
Neck pain that becomes chronic following whiplash is usually caused by disc injury. The bundles of fibers that make up the outer wall of the disc (the anulus) can be torn during a whiplash trauma, which can result in the disc herniating or degenerating. This causes irritation or compression of the nerves that run through the area, triggering pain to radiate into the arms, shoulders and upper back, perhaps also causing muscle weakness.
During the first few weeks after a whiplash injury, the major pain is caused by damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back. This is what causes people in Lakewood to become stiff and less mobile, and this abnormal movement and instability is what often remains once the initial pain has subsided.
Headaches follow neck pain as the second most common complaint, affecting over 80% of people. Although headaches can occasionally be the result of direct brain injury, most are triggered by injured muscles, ligaments and facet joints in the cervical spine, referring pain into the head. It is therefore vital to treat the supporting structures of your neck in order to combat any headaches.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a less common disorder that follows whiplash, but can be debilitating if it happens. TMJ manifests as pain, clicking and popping noises in the jaw when it is moved. Left untreated, TMJ can worsen and cause headaches, facial pain, ear pain and difficulty eating. This is a condition for which chiropractors are specially trained, or you may be referred to a TMJ specialist.
Mild to moderate brain injury is fairly common after whiplash, due to the movements as described in the four phases. The brain is very soft and suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, so that when the brain is jolted around in the skull, it can bruise or bleed. Whiplash victims may temporarily lose consciousness or have mild concussion, but more common is a feeling of mild confusion or disorientation following the crash. Long-term effects include mild confusion, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, irritability, forgetfulness, loss of sex drive, emotional upset and depression. In certain cases, the nerves that feed your senses of smell, taste and even sight may be affected.
Dizziness following a whiplash is usually temporary and can be improved with chiropractic care. It is the result of injury to the facet joints of the cervical spine, but in some cases it may be due to damage to the brain or brain stem.
Low back pain
Despite the neck bearing the brunt of the damage, your low back can also be easily injured by whiplash, and this is reported by over 50% of those involved in rear impact collisions, and in nearly 75% of those in side impact crashes. Although the low back does not suffer the same extent of flexion-extension injury as the neck, it still experiences a great compression during the first two phases of the whiplash process. Call 720-493-5885 FREE Consultation!