It is estimated that a driver in the United States will be in some sort of automobile accident once every ten years. Many of these are just fender bender incidents where no one is injured. Unfortunately, however, some accidents do result in injuries and pain to the driver or occupants.
In a high-speed impact, the forces involved can obviously cause one to suffer from neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, and also injuries to the extremities including the shoulders, hips, and elbows. But even in a low-speed impact where the vehicles are traveling as slowly as 5 mph injuries can result. Numerous studies have shown that even if there is little or no damage to the vehicle the occupants can experience significant painful conditions.
Many people who are initially injured in an automobile accident don’t seek immediate help thinking their pain “will just go away.” However, credible research articles have shown that up to 62% of whiplash-injured patients had not recovered by six months after the accident.
Additionally, some people are more at risk when involved in an accident than others. These include anyone with a history of previous injury, those with their head and neck turned to the side versus looking straight ahead at the time of impact, people with non-muscular necks like smaller females or tall, thin people, passengers in the front seats versus those in the rear seats and those who are unaware of the impending impact versus those who can brace and protect themselves. This explains why two people traveling in the same car and involved in the same accident can be affected differently: one person may be have no injuries while another may experience quite a bit of pain.
If one is injured in an automobile accident it is advisable to go to an emergency room of a local hospital if there is a chance of life-threatening or serious injury. Once the emergency has passed a chiropractor is well-suited to see for neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain or elbow pain. The chiropractor and the injured person will discuss the details of the accident and the extent of the injuries. Next the chiropractor will examine the areas causing the pain and check for possible loss of ranges of motion of the joints, muscle spasms and tenderness, ligaments that may have been sprained and other signs. If necessary, x-rays may be taken. Once the chiropractor has obtained this information he can determine the correct treatment methods to help the injured patient to heal as quickly as possible.
Chiropractors have extensive training and experience in helping those involved in an automobile accident to recover as fully as possible. Studies have shown that early movement results in a better outcome than wearing a collar or not allowing movement. Therefore, gentle mobilization and manipulation by the chiropractor, as soon as it can be tolerated, favor a better result. There are many different methods and techniques that chiropractor can use to speed and assist the recovery process. Prompt treatment is important!