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The Hidden Impact: Unveiling the Long-Term Effects of Auto Accidents on the Spine

woman in pain after car accidentWhether you were in a low-speed rush hour fender bender or a higher-speed highway collision, your body sustained damage. Some people think that if their car just got a little dent in the bumper or a little scratched up, then that must mean they’re okay too. Not true.

Even if there’s not a lot of vehicular damage, there’s much more soft tissue damage in the actual human body than what people think. Whiplash can occur even if you’re just going 4 miles per hour.

Issues That Can Arise

Following an auto accident, here are some of the problems that can crop up: More loss of curvature in the neck, arthritis, and long-term headaches.

What causes these issues?

In an auto accident, there’s a loss of stability in the areas injured. Dr. Kelch always compares it to a rubber band. “You have ligaments and tendons holding that spine in a structurally correct position. And when you get a whiplash scenario, or car wreck incident, those rubber bands are stretched out. They don’t have any tension holding everything where it should, and then they lose their correct alignment,” he said.

Over time, those rubber bands will tighten back up and have a long-term incorrect alignment due to lack of curvature. That incorrect curvature will cause wear and tear, producing more arthritic conditions.

The Importance of Seeking Care Right Away

At the practice, what we see a lot of times is that as people get into a small fender bender, and don’t feel bad for a week, or two or three weeks, they’re starting to have headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain they’ve never had before, and it’s pretty consistent.

That’s the body having much more inflammation starting to build up. The body is starting to try to deal with it, and it’s setting the alarm signals off that something’s going on. “So that’s the early form that we want to catch before we start seeing, say 5-10 years from now, that lack of curvature and arthritis start to show up and issues like that,” said Dr. Kelch.

The Role of Chiropractic Care

Medical doctors don’t do a lot for a minor whiplash. Typically, if you get in a car wreck and there are no broken bones, X-rays will be taken to see what’s going on. You’ll then likely be given a muscle relaxer and a pain pill. That’s what MDs are trained to do, said Dr. Kelch.

As a chiropractor, he looks at the actual alignment and restructures everything. So long term, we maintain that curvature and give the body time to heal those ligaments and tendons.

In addition to adjustments, the following can help a person recover from an auto accident: certain exercises and stretches to help stabilize the area, and massage therapy to help get some inflammation out from the affected areas.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

If you have insurance, we just need your information along with the police report. Then we’ll have you fill out paperwork in the office in more detail about what actually happened with the wreck, how you were hit, the direction of the hit, and the force of it. Those all factor into how the body responds.

If you have X-rays, it’s helpful to bring those in. We can also take X-rays at the practice if there’s a delay in getting any images you had taken at the hospital.

Please note that we have a great relationship with every attorney in the area, as well as with insurance companies.

Book an Appointment

If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s vital to seek care immediately. Give our practice a call today to book an appointment.

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