Between April 28, 2014, and November 12, 2021, there were more than 1.8 million car crashes in New York City, 341,000 of which were in Queens. The number of NYC accidents in which one or two people sustained injuries was 352,000. Neck and back injuries are among the most common types of injuries sustained in a car accident. If you’ve recently been in an accident, a back and neck pain chiropractor may offer you the relief you need.
Here are five reasons to see a back pain chiropractor if you’ve been in a car accident:
1. Whiplash Is a Painful Neck Injury
Whiplash, a soft-tissue injury in the neck that can also affect the spinal cord, usually occurs in rear-end collisions when the head is whipped back and forth quickly. The muscles and ligaments are stretched and sometimes torn. Vertebrae are also shifted out of alignment. Signs of whiplash include:
- Acute pain in the neck
- Neck stiffness
- Pain and stiffness radiating out to the shoulders, arms, and back
- Headache, usually at the base and back of the head
- Blurred vision
For some, sleep disturbances, inability to concentrate, ringing in the ears, memory issues, irritability, and depression also accompany whiplash. If left untreated, whiplash may lead to complications such as chronic pain and limited range of motion.
Whiplash is not just a neck phenomenon. Accidents causing the body to suddenly jerk from one direction to another can cause whiplash in the back. This can result in chronic low back pain or acute low back pain.
How a Chiropractor Can Help Your Whiplash
A car accident chiropractor treats patients who have sustained neck and back injuries in a car crash. Non-invasive and drug-free chiropractic treatments may improve pain and aid in the healing process. The doctor may utilize multiple techniques to address different components of the injury.
If you have whiplash resulting in neck or back pain, your chiropractor may perform electrotherapy using low-frequency, interferential electric stimulation to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. The process itself is painless. Your doctor may use spinal manipulation to realign the vertebrae in your neck and back, as well as therapeutic exercises to rehabilitate your muscles and ligaments.
2. Disc Herniation Can Occur Anywhere on the Spinal Column
Disc herniation can occur anywhere on the spinal column but is a common aspect of a whiplash injury. Auto accident victims also often experience a herniated disc in the middle of the back. The vertebrae along your spinal column contain a spongy, disc-shaped cushion between each of them that absorbs the shock of vertebrae knocking up against one another.
The force of an impact in a car crash can compress the disc or knock it out of alignment. An untreated herniated disc can result in a degenerative spine condition later in life. A disc herniation can also lead to sciatica or leg pain.
How a Car Accident Chiropractor Can Help With a Herniated Disc
When you go see a chiropractor for back pain, the doctor evaluates your entire spinal column to pinpoint what injuries your car accident caused. Often, chiropractors conduct a physical examination as well as X-rays. If you have a herniated disc, your doctor will assess how severe it is and develop an appropriate chiropractic treatment plan, which may involve manual therapy like spinal manipulation therapy and stretching techniques, or electrotherapy and therapeutic exercises with physical therapists.
3. Lumbar Injuries Are the Most Common of All Car Accident Injuries
Recent research found that more people suffered an injury to the lumbar spine region in the lower back after a car accident than to any other part of the neck and back. Lumbar injuries can occur in most types of car accidents, from rear-end collisions to rollovers. The damage may be to the muscles and other soft tissues or the spinal cord.
How Soft Tissue Damage Occurs
Lumbar strains and sprains involve the soft tissues in the lower back. A strain occurs when the muscles in this area get stretched too far or are torn. If your lumbar region ligaments are stretched or torn, then you may have a sprain. The jarring motion of a car crash often leads to one or both types of injuries.
How Spinal Cord Damage Occurs
If you have lower back pain after a car accident, you may have a herniated disc or one or more fractured vertebrae. Lumbar fractures range in severity from:
- Compression fractures: When two vertebrae compress together hard enough, the bone in the vertebrae can collapse. People who already have weakened spines are more susceptible to compression fractures.
- Burst fractures: A burst fracture, which is more serious than a compression fracture, happens when one of your vertebrae breaks in multiple directions, potentially leading to nerve and spinal column damage.
- Chance fractures: A chance fracture develops when two of the vertebrae in your lower back are pulled apart, often as a result of a rear-end collision.
- Fracture-dislocations: The most serious type of lumbar back injury is a fracture-dislocation injury, which occurs when a vertebra is fractured and dislocated from its proper position along the spine. Fracture-dislocations can lead to paralysis.
4. Car Accident Injuries May also Affect the Thoracic Region of the Back
Sciatica is also a common spinal injury in the lower back. Often, the condition accompanies a herniated disc and could require low back pain treatment. Disc herniation may lead to compression of the sciatica nerve, which causes nerve inflammation. People typically experience sciatica pain on one side of the body that radiates from the spinal column in the lower back, across the hip and buttocks, and sometimes down into the leg on the affected side. Sciatica may also lead to tingling and numbness.
How a Chiropractor in Queens NY Can Help
Often, the injuries sustained in a car accident impact multiple regions of the back. If you visit a chiropractor for back pain anywhere along your spinal column, your doctor may employ several techniques to treat your injuries. Using treatments such as ice and heat therapy, spinal manipulation, joint mobilization, physiotherapy, electrotherapy, and therapeutic exercises, the doctor works with your body to help alleviate pain and speed the healing process.
5. A Back and Neck Pain Chiropractor Can Help With Your Car Accident Injuries
If you need a chiropractor in Queens NY who has experience working with car accident injuries, the doctors at Chiropractic Approach are here to help and provide professional medical advice. Our doctors have more than 40 years of experience treating patients in NYC. Our approach is non-invasive and drug-free. Get help for your injuries today by contacting our office to schedule a free consultation.