Driving in the Algarve this time of year can be a stressful experience. The roads are a lot busier and there have been quite a few car accidents that delay the traffic. As a precaution, it is best to leave earlier than usual, keep calm and drive safely. Stress can affect your health and, obviously, so can a car accident. Not only your cervical spine may suffer injury but also the rest of your spine. Early chiropractic care after a motor vehicle accident shows to be beneficial for a good recovery.
Even a car accident that is seemingly minor with limited damage to the car can cause serious injury to the driver and passengers. An impact of 10 to 15 kilometers per hour can force the neck in extreme ranges of motion and cause damage to the soft tissues and joints.
It is the weight of the head that forces the neck in extreme motions during an impact. Children can also be affected especially because the weight of their head in proportion to the body is greater than in adulthood.
Often these auto injuries may be hidden at first and can affect you later in life. Symptoms such as headaches, neck stiffness and pain, sore back muscles, numbness in hands can show up a few months after the accident.
More severe harm can include damage to the nerves, discs, ligaments and even a broken bone in the neck. However, whiplash doesn’t always present itself right away; these silent injuries can cause memory and concentration problems, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbances and irritability.
Those aches and pains you may be experiencing after a car accident are a clear indication that the spine has suffered damage. If ignored, the pain may go away, but the spinal damage may not heal correctly. These untreated spinal injuries are the source of future pain and may lead to premature osteoarthritis.
We have noticed that after a period of five years following a car accident, many patients’ x-rays show a reversal of the normal lordosis curve of the cervical spine. That is the first phase that leads to premature osteoarthritis. Even lower back pain can result directly from the trauma, or as a reaction to the loss of proper spinal curves.
The traditional approach to whiplash has been rest, a collar for the neck and medicine for pain. But a study published in the British Medical Journal says that there could be a better approach.
The researchers followed two groups of whiplash sufferers.
One group was given the standard treatment of rest with a soft collar to keep the neck from moving. The second group received “active approach” consisting of cervical spine adjustments, ice for 24 hours and a regimen of daily exercises.
The group undergoing the “active approach” showed faster relief of pain and also had greater improvement in neck mobility than the group receiving the standard treatment.
This report supports what chiropractors have been saying for years. The researchers concluded that early active treatment was to be preferred. The earlier you establish the proper intervention, via chiropractic adjustments, the better your chances for a full recovery.
If you were involved in a car accident, you should be under chiropractic care as soon as possible. The longer you wait before receiving the appropriate care, the more scar tissue that is formed, increasing the time necessary to resolve your problem. It’s never too late, but the sooner you act, the faster true healing can be accomplished.
Remember to drive safely especially during this summer season, stay cool, stay zen with a healthy spine and a good nervous system.