WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES?
So, what’s the big deal with car accident injuries?
It’s estimated that around 25% of people after a car accident injury will end up experiencing chronic pain. That’s one in four people.
Other research studies show that 75% of people who go to the emergency room after a car accident are still having pain six weeks later.
Some studies suggest that 43% of patients who were injured in a car accident suffer chronic symptoms years later after the car accident.
The most common injuries in Raleigh that may become chronic are neck pain, headaches, whiplash, shoulder pain, back pain, and muscle pain. Often, there is chronic radiating pain, tingling, and numbness in the shoulders or legs.
Injuries may also lead to chronic stiffness in the neck, back, and shoulders. Car accident injuries can trigger the body to start developing arthritis in the vertebral joints of the spine too.
These traumatic insults to the vertebrae of the back and neck can lead to the development of chronic arthritis, which in turn leads to chronic pain and stiffness.
Car accident injuries begin with initial soft tissue swelling in the muscles, tendons, and fascia. This is typically referred to as a sprain/strain, or whiplash when we are referring to the neck.
After the initial swelling, the injured and damaged soft tissues begin thickening and hardening. Scar tissue then starts to develop. This is the beginning of arthritis. This process develops over the years but it begins and accelerates with the initial injury to the soft tissues in the spine.
A study indicates injuries from car accidents cause a condition called central hypersensitivity. This is when the injury causes the muscles around the spine and spinal cord neurons to become overly sensitive to pain. This process causes chronic pain syndrome in some patients. In most cases, diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans do not show this inflammatory process in the soft tissues.
Why Seek Treatment:
It’s important to seek treatment after a car accident injury by medical professionals, and a chiropractor may be a good choice.
The sooner a trained professional can begin treating you the less likely you are to develop chronic pain from your accident.
Treatment can have a direct impact on the injured soft tissues, by mobilizing your vertebral joints with chiropractic adjustments and physical therapies such as ultrasound therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, therapeutic stretches and exercises, myofascial release, manual therapy, tens therapy, and traction therapy. This all helps to begin the remodeling and healing process in the injured muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.