Treatment for Symptoms Following an Auto Collision
Automobile collisions, even minor ones, can cause physical effects that don't occur until days afterward. Typical of a whiplash injury, painful headaches may not flare up for days or weeks following an auto accident. A visit to our Fort Collins chiropractic clinic can treat the source of the problem and bring pain relief.
How Whiplash Happens
Whiplash is a common automobile collision relate injury involving the head and neck. When a car is struck in the rear, by another vehicle, the occupants' heads are suddenly forced backwards and, then forwards. This stretches the muscles and tendons in the neck especially near the top of the spine. Motor vehicle collision victims usually initially become aware of a stiff neck, along with a few other sensations. An adrenalin rush from the collision sometimes masks the pain symptoms until later. Many people think they are fine immediately following the collision and wake up the next day in severe pain.
Trauma to the muscles and other soft tissue will result in inflammation. Muscle spasm and inflammation irritate nerves that travel into the head, creating the headaches that commonly follow a whiplash injury. The headaches often continue even after the soft tissues in the neck heal from the trauma. Along with the headaches, the victim will often experience additional symptoms including:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Upper back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Pain in the jaw
- Numbness or tingling
- Arm pain
The Chiropractic Approach to Treating Whiplash Injuries
Chiropractic treatment focuses on the muscles, nerves and vertebrae of the spine. All of these structures can be involved in the motor vehicle injury. Using the history of the injury and the physical examination, the chiropractor will determine which tissues were damaged and tailor your treatment accordingly. The chiropractor will recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
Spinal Manipulation or Adjustments
The chiropractor will look for signs vertebrae in the spine are not moving correctly. Called a subluxation, they cause irritation of the muscles and nerves in that area. Chiropractic adjustments, of the spine, helps restore normal vertebral motion to relieve the irritation. Flexion distraction may also be used on the spine to stretch specific areas of the spine.
Manual Therapy and Active Release Techniques
These techniques are used to gently stretch out muscles that have become tense because of the injury. Manual release uses a massaging motion to coax the muscles to relax and stretch them out in the direction of their normal movement. Active release applies pressure on tense muscles that have contracted into a hard knot. Release techniques allow the muscles to relax as the painful knots are eased away. Trigger point therapy helps to calm areas of hyper excitable muscle and fascia that can contribute to hypertonic muscles. Massage Therapy is an excellent way to address the soft tissue injuries.
Specialized devices such as interferential muscle stimulation can be used to send a mild electrical charge into the area to block pain receptors. This temporarily relieves pain to allow tissues to heal more efficiently. It also helps to reduce pain during a treatment session if the client's discomfort is preventing the chiropractor from relaxing muscles in the area.
While a minor car collision may initially seem to result in no serious health issues, whiplash can bring on symptoms a few days or more after the event. If in Colorado, a visit to our Fort Collins chiropractor may help to prevent painful consequences from becoming a major disability for those involved in an automobile collision. Contact us at Foothills Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinic to schedule an appointment today!