What Happens to Your Spine and Muscles in a Car Accident?

car accident injury chiropractorHave you ever been driving around in traffic and passed a car accident? Or been stopped at a light and been rear ended or hit from the side? In addition to legal troubles, these types of car accidents happen every day and cause significant neck pain, low back pain, and muscle aches.  

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with being in a car accident. In a whiplash injury your spine is quickly and forcefully moved back and forth. This can cause injury to the spine, nerve pain, damage to the discs between the vertebra, and muscle pain. Whiplash typically refers to a neck injury but a car accident can cause low back pain as well.

How Do I Know if I Have Whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash and other spine related injuries can onset immediately following the accident or take a few days or even a week to appear. It is important to seek medical attention following a car accident to properly diagnose and treat your injuries appropriately. Common symptoms are:

  •       Neck pain and stiffness
  •       Headache
  •       Increased pain when moving the neck and arms
  •       Loss of range of motion of the neck
  •       Muscle pain and tenderness of the neck and shoulders
  •       Sleep disturbances

How Do I Know if There is Nerve Damage?

Nerve pain caused by a car accident is common and can be from a herniated disc, muscle spasm, or dysfunction of the spine itself. Common symptoms of nerve pain are:

  •       Numbness and tingling of the arms or legs.
  •       Dull achy pain that feels like a tight muscle and stretching does not provide lasting relief.
  •       Pain that does not go away with rest or changing positions.
  •       Weakness or fatigue in the neck, low back, arms or legs.
  •       Pain while coughing, sneezing, or moving your bowels.

How Long Will It Take Before I Feel Better?

Every case is different and some injuries can heal in a few weeks while other can take months or years depending on severity. The quicker you seek medical attention and begin treatment the better.

If you are experiencing the above symptoms reaching out to a chiropractor for an evaluation is a great place to start. Letting symptoms of whiplash, nerve pain, muscle pain, and spine dysfunction linger could have long term effects if not treated properly.