Contrary to popular belief, it’s not possible to judge the extent of an auto injury based on the extent of the automobiles damage or speed. Some would assume that if the damage to the vehicle is minimal so too must the injuries to the passengers. Crash test ratings and numerous studies have proven this to be a false if not dangerous conclusion.
The vast majority of auto accidents that occur every day were the result of low speeds of 12 mph or less. Yet most insurance companies are reluctant to admit to this fact. So is it possible for injuries to occur at low speeds and if so, what kind?
Soft Tissue Injuries
Passengers involved in the accident frequently suffer from soft tissue injuries due to low impact collisions. These injuries are distinguished by the tears and stretching that occurs when the connective tissues between bones and joints are stressed to the max. Depending on the severity of the accident, nerve damage is also possible.
Rear end collisions are known to cause hyperflexion and hyperextension which results in an injury known as whiplash. There are a variety of activities that may cause this accident, but auto accidents are currently at the top of the list of most likely to cause or result in a whiplash related injury.
This injury can occur whenever the body absorbs all of the momentum from the impact of the accident. As a result, the head quickly “whips” back and forth in a rapid movement placing significant strain on the delicate tissues and skeletal system of both the neck and spine.
Depending on a variety of factors (speed, health of the patient, impact of the accident, etc.), the injured party may experience a ligament tear or even a disc herniation and protrusion. Some of the more serious accidents may also result in injuries to the brain.
Although whiplash injuries may not immediately be felt or noticed, the symptoms may appear days or even weeks later in the following manner:
- Pain in the neck, shoulder and arms
- Blurry vision
- Stiffness of the neck, shoulder and arms
- Jaw pain
- Tingling sensations felt through the neck, shoulder and arms
- Nausea or vertigo
Because the symptoms may take up to weeks to become apparent, anyone who has been involved in an auto accident should seek immediate medical attention and consult with a chiropractor for treatment.
The neck and the head are not the only body parts that can experience the traumatic impact of an auto accident. The back as well as the hips, knees and ankles, may also experience the effects of the terrifying accident.
Injuries Don’t Have an Expiration Date
Even after treatment of the injury, some patients may experience painful reminders of the accident due to the scar tissue that may form as a result of the accident. In addition to the short term effects, patients may also long term effects such as:
- Sporadic muscle spasms
- Disturbances to the disc space of the spine
- Permanent changes to the curvature of the spine
Identifying the Injury
Soft tissues are difficult to immediately identify because they bear no visible symptoms like a cut or broken bone would. In addition, modern technology such as MRIs, CT scans and even X-rays may prove to be powerless when proving the existence of a soft tissue injury.
Professional medical attention and an evaluation performed by a chiropractor can help determine the extent of the injury as well as advise the best appropriate treatment plan.
Seeking Chiropractor Help
If a soft tissue injury is neglected, the affected muscle or tissue area may cause chronic pain for months or even years after the accident.
The standard approach to treating auto accident related injuries often involves suppressing or masking the symptoms with a variety of pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs. While this approach may bring temporarily relief to the patient, it will do nothing to completely resolve the problem.
As mentioned before, pain may not immediately be apparent but the potential for an injury should not be ignored!
If left untreated, the affected muscles and soft tissues may heal with scar tissue. While the scar tissue is the body’s natural way of trying to heal itself, it eventually leaves the surrounding muscles and tissues weaker. Tissues and muscles that have been affected in this manner are more susceptible to re-injury and pain.
A combination of chiropractic treatment and physical therapy may help restore the muscular strength, elasticity, and normal function of the injury by “training” the scar tissue into proper alignment.
In addition to offering therapy and physical exercises, a chiropractor may even be able to provide nutritional advice that can aid in the healing process.
Experiencing an auto accident is one of the most terrifying experiences anyone could go through. The first step an injured patient should do after consulting with their medical doctor, is to find a chiropractor who is either experienced or specializes in auto accident related injuries.
With some initiative on your part, you can begin the recovery process that will help prevent the injury from becoming unbearable.