Car Accident Injury: Get Physical Therapy & Chiropractic
By the Numbers
More than 50% of people involved in a motor vehicle accident receive a diagnosis of whiplash. 15%-40% of these people that have acute neck pain following the collision will go on to develop chronic neck pain down the road. Symptoms may not appear immediately following a car accident, but instead may slowly worsen days or weeks following the collision. Symptoms left untreated may intensify over time causing joint degeneration, arthritis, and irreversible changes in the body.
How to Treat
In the past, treatment following a car accident was simple. Doctors would say to just rest and avoid as much movement as possible. They would fit you with a soft cervical collar for comfort and you would be on your way. New research, however, now shows that this is the exact opposite of what you should do. Active whiplash treatment should begin within 96 hours of the accident. This should include gentle stretching, joint mobilization and manipulation, soft tissue work, and strengthening and stabilizing exercises.
Whiplash, also known in the medical community as Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, or C.A.D.S., is difficult, complex, and time-consuming to treat, so referral is often made to another physician or doctor. Unfortunately, many people wait too long before seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor for treatment. Both physical therapists and chiropractors can help treat the negative effects of whiplash, and when the two skill sets are combined, the results are even better.
How Chiropractic Helps
A chiropractor can help realign joints that are altered during a car accident. Joint capsules that surround the joints along the entire spine from the neck to the lower back, in addition to joints in the arms and legs, can become tight, guarded, and locked into place causing pain. Mechanical mobilization of these joints can not only produce relief of painful symptoms, but allow the body to move more naturally and smoothly as well.
How Physical Therapy Helps
Once the body is aligned and working properly, it is essential that a physical therapist creates a specific exercise program to strengthen and stabilize these areas of the body to ensure long-term success of treatment. Physical Therapy will help correct muscle imbalances including weak, unstable, tight or overly flexible muscle groups. By strengthening and stabilizing the core, neck, back, and extremities the body will be in the best position possible to heal.
There is Hope
It is important to remember that whiplash injuries are very treatable, but it is vital for a patient to be seen as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident to help prevent future complications. It is much easier and you will have much greater success treating the initial symptoms following a car accident than trying to reverse the long-term effects of joint degeneration and arthritis many years later. Arvada Sport and Spine Group is unique unlike any rehabilitation clinics in the area in that we are the only clinic to offer the services of both a licensed physical therapist and chiropractor under the same roof. We work with you, your doctor, your car insurance company, and your attorney if applicable, to ensure that your treatment is not only covered, but it is as comprehensive and complete as possible. If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, come in and see us right away to have the best possible chance of making a full recovery.
top image from innova-pain.com