Q: I have been in a car crash and did not go to get it checked out because I thought I was ok. Is it possible to have pain from the crash start a week and a half after it happened? What would a chiropractor do to me?
A: Whiplash, an injury most commonly associated with a car accident, is damage to the neck and cervical spine (usually) from the sudden forward and/or backward whipping of the head at the time of impact, often from a rear-end hit. Usually muscles are most affected by getting torn and then swelling as they heal. If the impact is significant enough, tendons, ligaments, and finally bone will be damaged.
A chiropractor can detect what tissues have been injured, even a misalignment of vertebrae, that could have been caused by the accident—and straighten it out before the pain sets in or greatly reduce the time of healing. If the discomfort has already started, the chiropractor has other treatment measures at hand, in addition to manipulation. Ultrasound, for instance, is a painless technique that uses high- or low frequency sound waves that penetrate deeply and warm tissue and muscle. The chiropractor might also use cold packs or some other form of cold treatment to reduce inflammation. He might also use massage to increase circulation to the muscles, which will help relax them if they’ve tightened. Physical therapy should be used at the same time as the chiropractic treatments are being used. Usually, the chiropractor will take Xrays to see the bones and make sure they are not damaged.
The main purpose of the physical medicine mentioned above should be to allow for as complete and normal of a healing process as is possible. if left untreated, pain will usually still reduce or go away, but without the right type of therapy at the right times, many people are left with scar tissue that limits their ability to function, leads to more pain later on, and accelerates the rate in which your body develops arthritis over time.
If you’ve been in an accident—even if you’re feeling okay—you should visit a chiropractor. Sometimes the pain, stiffness, dizziness and other potential symptoms of whiplash won’t show up for weeks, months or longer after the accident. It is very common for several days or weeks to go by before the pain sets in. A final thought, regardless of the methods employed, the quickest cure for a whiplash is prompt and proper treatment.
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