Neck and back pain are common complaints after a car accident. Whiplash is usually caused when someone is rear-ended. Most of the symptoms of this condition will resolve on their own within two to four weeks. However, when the damage is more serious, the pain may last longer.
Whiplash happens when the force of an accident causes your head to be violently thrown back and forth It can damage:
- The bones in your spine
- Your ligaments
- Your nerves
- Your muscles
- Your neck tissue
A car accident can leave you with long-lasting pain and discomfort. Anything that affects the spine is dangerous and may require long-term care and treatment. However, even whiplash, sprains, and nerve or muscle injuries to your neck and back may leave you aching and struggling to get back to your normal life. You should follow these steps after a car accident.
The first step after an accident is to always see a doctor, even if you don’t feel pain right away. You need a professional to assess your injuries and prescribe a course of treatment to avoid further damage. They will attempt to diagnose the sources of the pain you’re suffering and take steps to alleviate it.
Depending on your injury and degree of pain, you may consider surgical options to reduce the risk of further injury and reduce your pain level. Otherwise, most of your recovery will consist of doing exercises to strengthen your neck and finding ways to reduce and manage pain. This will help you cope with your injury and prevent further problems.
How Whiplash Affects Your Body
Whiplash can strain your neck and cause pain by stretching or tearing the muscle. You might also sustain a herniated disc. Joints or discs in your spine that are hurt in the accident will cause a lot of pain. They can also cause damage to the spinal cord itself.
A car accident might damage the discs that sit between each vertebra in your spine or the nerves or facet joints around and between them. Disc-related (also called discogenic) injuries produce sharp pain you can feel radiating down from your spine.
After you’ve had a full assessment of the extent of your injuries and any dangers they pose to your long-term health, it’s time to start managing your recovery. This will allow you to return to your pre-accident lifestyle and eventually become free from pain.
The following are some treatments the doctor may recommend:
- Wearing a collar to protect your neck as it heals
- Pain medication
- Exercises to strengthen your neck and back muscles
- Regular massages can help relax the injured areas of your body
It’s also a great idea to seek secondary treatment for your injury after taking your doctor’s advice. Other specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, and pain specialists can use their own areas of expertise to help you recover quickly and effectively.
Physical therapy is also popular and regularly recommended by doctors to aid in recovery from an injury or operation. It can be especially effective for helping people with restricted mobility to regain their full range of motion.
Physical therapists can guide patients through exercises to build up their muscle strength and increase flexibility. They will target weak areas that are vulnerable to injury and give them the strength and stability they need to protect against injury in the future.
Chiropractic care is one of the most common and effective treatments for patients who are seeking relief from back or neck pain. Chiropractic Adjustment for post-car accident care is recommended. It’s a popular treatment used to help reduce dependence on pain medication, and it can be particularly effective when paired with medical treatment from a doctor.
Chiropractors work to help align your spine and other bones and muscles of your body to aid in the healing process. The specialist will manipulate and adjust your body to help bring your mobility back and control pain.
For especially severe and chronic pain, your primary care doctor might refer you to a pain management specialist. This is a doctor who is specifically trained to help you plan for and manage pain effectively. They can prescribe medications for pain, but they will work closely with you to find any other solution that may be effective as well.
A pain specialist might refer you to another type of therapeutic specialist if they believe it will help you. They may also:
- Use injections or implants
- Recommend meditation and acupuncture
- Refer you for a surgical consultation
Pain specialists will help you consider all of the options available for aiding in your recovery and reducing your pain and discomfort.
The Road to Recovery
After a car accident that’s left you in pain, you can’t expect to recover overnight. Recovery may be a long process that involves months of physical therapy. Emotional recovery may be stressful as well, especially if you’re dealing with a personal injury lawsuit while you’re trying to focus on your health. There are several methods to prove negligence and liability of the culprit and in order to learn what action you should take, you need to inform yourself.
Some neck and back injuries never fully go away. The most important thing is to get a comprehensive understanding of what has happened to your body and how to protect yourself from future complications or additional injuries. The long road to recovery is all about taking care of yourself and finding what works best for you.