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Treatment for Symptoms Following an Auto Accident

Treatment for Symptoms Following an Auto Accident


Auto accidents, 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 issue and bring pain relief.

How Whiplash Happens

Whiplash is an auto accident injury involving the head and neck. When a car is struck by another vehicle, the occupants' heads are suddenly forced forward, then back. This stretches the muscles and tendons in the neck near the top of the spine. Accident victims may become aware of a stiff neck, along with a few other sensations.

As the neck inflammation subsides, the body begins to respond with pain. Muscles in the neck irritate nerves that travel into the head, creating the headaches that commonly follow a whiplash injury. The headaches continue as the soft tissues in the neck heal from the trauma. Along with the headaches, the person will likely experience additional symptoms including:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Upper back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Migraines

The Chiropractic Approach to Treating Whiplash

Treatment focuses on the muscles, nerves and vertebrae in the upper spine. All of these structures can be involved in the injury. Using X-rays and physical examination, the chiropractor will determine what tissues were damaged and tailor the treatment accordingly. The chiropractor will recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

Spinal Manipulation

The chiropractor will look for signs of the first two vertebrae in the spine being out of alignment. Called a subluxation, there is subtle irritation of the muscles and nerves in that area. Chiropractic manipulation of the spine realigns those vertebrae to relieve the irritation. Traction may also be used on the spine to gently move the vertebrae and allow them to be more easily realigned.

Manual and Active Release Techniques

These techniques are used to gently stretch out muscles that have become tense because of the accident. Manual release uses a massaging motion to coax the muscles to relax and stretch 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.

Electrical Stimulation

Specialized devices 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 accident may 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 auto accident. Contact us at Foothills Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinic to schedule an appointment today! 

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