Unlike what’s typically portrayed in movies, car accidents rarely involve grandiose automobile gymnastics, with shards of metal and glass stylistically showering the scene.
In reality, most accidents are fender benders. More moderate car accidents usually result in a smashed up grill and a few decimated tires.
That said, even in these minor to moderate vehicle accidents, serious injury can occur.
The tricky thing about car accident injuries is that the symptoms are often latent – they may not begin to manifest until days or even weeks after the fact.
This is why it’s so important to see an auto injury doctor immediately following an accident, even if you don’t initially notice symptoms. The sooner diagnosis and treatment can begin, the faster the recovery will be.
Common Auto Accident Injury Symptoms To Watch Out For
Back, Neck, & Shoulder Pain
These are usually signs of one of the most common auto accident injuries – whiplash. It’s also an injury that’s commonly latent in expression.
Whiplash occurs from the sudden jolting of the head and spine. Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents resulting in whiplash. Ligaments in the neck are usually strained or damaged, and the muscles become inflamed.
Things to watch out for include:
- Limited mobility – usually there is pain when moving the head, back, and arms
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
Fatigue, both physical and mental, that lasts for prolonged periods of time following an accident is a clear indicator of an auto injury.
It’s normal to feel tired after the stress of being in an accident and dealing with all of the resulting collateral – insurance exchanges, car repair, and worried family memebers. But when this feeling becomes chronic, it’s a good idea to seek a medical diagnosis.
Tingling and Numbness In the Extremities
This is often a sign that one or more vertebral discs and the surrounding ligaments have become damaged. This damage usually puts pressure on the nerves branching out from the spine, causing numbness and tingling in the extremities as well as a significant amount of pain.
Usually mobility is severely limited and sudden movements can greatly increase pain. Even someone bumping into you can cause a massive spike in pain.
Abdominal Pain and/or Swelling
These may be indicators of internal bleeding. Other signs can include dizziness, fainting, and bruising that is deep purple in color.
Internal bleeding is a serious issue. In extreme cases it can even be fatal. This is another reason seeking immediate medical attention even after a minor auto accident is so important – internal bleeding can go unrecognized for hours or days following an auto accident.
Alterations In Personality or Motor Skills
Personality changes such as sudden irritability, anger issues, depression, or high impulsivity can be indicators of brain trauma. Other symptoms would be memory loss, vision and hearing problems, and diminished coordination.
It is not uncommon for people who have experienced an auto accident to retain feelings of anxiety and dread long after the fact. Depending on the severity of the accident, vivid memories can trigger a chronic sense of unease. Insomnia due to nightmares is another common problem.
Concussions – Don’t Ignore These Symptoms
Concussions are the result of the sudden movement of the brain inside the skull. When this happens with enough force, the white matter in the brain can become damaged.
Ultimately, this damage to the white matter means damage to neurons in the brain. Communication between brain cells becomes interrupted, causing the common symptoms of concussion, including:
- Serious memory loss
- Changes in sensory experience
- Changes in personality
- Motor function difficulty (including poor hand-eye coordination)
- Emotional stress
Often people who suffer from a concussion have a sense that they are walking under water. Their surroundings can seem unreal or far away. Overall, the general sense is one of discomfort and disorientation.
If you are noticing any of these symptoms following an auto accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
How Auto Accident Injuries Are Commonly Treated
If you’ve noticed the above symptoms, you have likely sustained a mild to moderate auto injury. Of course, severe auto injuries involving broken bones and major musculoskeletal damage require emergency care, but for mild to moderate injuries, the following treatment options typically yield positive results.
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve hands-on manipulation of the spinal cord with the goal of aligning the vertebrae and setting the body back to its proper position. Chiropractic adjustments can have wide-ranging positive effects on the body. In fact, people often see improvement in areas that initially seemed unrelated to the area that was causing them pain.
With the right adjustments, auto injury chiropractors can:
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Restore mobility and range of motion
- Expedite the healing of slipped or bulging discs
- Treat musculoskeletal problems
- Treat muscle, ligament, and joint problems
- Improve the nervous system
- Improve sleep
While most chiropractic care is hands-on, a chiropractic instrument can also be used for certain adjustments. These are highly controlled procedures with which patients rarely experience pain. On the contrary, patients usually report almost immediate feelings of relief and an increase in energy levels and mobility.
Auto injury chiropractors can typically perform a wide variety of chiropractic adjustments and cater their treatment to individuals based on their specific condition and needs.
Chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and drug-free form of treatment that addresses the underlying causes of chronic pain, rather than covering up the symptoms.
Neck Pain Treatment
Neck pain is one of the most common problems resulting from auto accidents, and it’s one that often becomes chronic.
Even minor auto accidents can cause major damage to the intervertebral joints, ligaments, discs, and nerve roots. This can have profoundly negative effects on a person’s mobility, cognition, and quality of sleep.
Neck adjustments, sometimes referred to as “cervical manipulations”, are typical chiropractic adjustments that can put the neck and its supporting structures back into proper alignment.
Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation
Auto injury chiropractors will often create a treatment plan for on-going recovery with a focus on restoring full strength, functionality, and mobility.
Physiotherapy usually involves various stretching techniques and exercises to increase blood flow and range of motion, and strengthen muscles around the spine.
Electrical stimulation is a form of physical therapy that uses electric currents to treat:
- Back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Post-surgical pain
- Muscle spasms
With electrical stimulation, electrodes are applied to the skin on areas that need treatment. These electrodes are connected to the electrical stimulation machine.
If all of this sounds off-putting, don’t worry: it’s not painful. Patients rarely feel more than tingling sensations ranging from mild to strong in intensity.
Even mild auto accidents can create chronic problems, and because auto injury symptoms are often latent, these problems may not be noticed until days or weeks following the accident. This is why it is important to seek diagnostic treatment immediately following an accident, as the sooner the problem is found, the faster and more efficient treatment options will be.