If you've ever been in a car accident, that moment when time seems to slow down, when suddenly everything is out of your control, you feel the impact, and then the adrenaline rush takes over. Even if you feel fine right after an auto accident, treat yourself gingerly, because you may not feel the full extent of your body's reaction to the accident until several days, weeks, or even months later.
Pain is your body's first sign that something is wrong. But what happens when you can't sense the signal your body is trying to give? That is what can happen when adrenaline levels are very high. In the moment, you may simply be reacting to the emergent situation, you may feel like you are ok, but you could be ignoring your own injuries. It’s not all just because of the adrenaline. When you work out after a long period of no exercise, or when you first do a physical activity you are not used to, you don’t immediately feel sore. It usually happens after a day or two. The same applies with car accidents.
While not everyone gets whiplash after an accident, the majority of people have some kind of discomfort or other type of injury. If you could see your body in slow motion as the accident occurs, you would be surprised to see how many moving parts may be affected, may go out of alignment, or snap in and out of place. The body is very resilient, especially under high stress situations. So it is important that after the fact, we take care to ensure our health and safety.
Getting an X-Ray and a consult with your primary doctor after an accident is a great idea. Especially if you have soft tissue pain, headache, or dizziness, it is important to take yourself to the emergency room or urgent care to rule out a concussion. It may also be a great idea to get a follow up X-Ray about a month or two after your accident. I often will have patients who still complain about pain after having a whiplash injury from years before. When I ask if they have had any imaging done, they will say yes, but it didn’t show any sign of injury. Most X-Rays and other imaging are taken more immediately after an accident, and often will show nothing. But sometimes it takes a couple of months for the full consequences of a whiplash injury to show up. So a follow up image may show causes of pain and discomfort that may not have been there immediately following the accident.
Getting yourself here to Simple Health for a Chiropractic and/or Acupuncture consult following your accident is also a great idea, especially if you are looking for non-pharmaceutical alternatives to pain relief. Sometimes, depending on your car insurance, your treatments may even be covered. Many people have auto insurance that comes with Med Pay, which is a service that can pay your healthcare provider directly without any out of pocket cost to you.
Whiplash injuries can be serious, can lead to acute and chronic pain that may last years. So taking preventative measures to reduce inflammation, re-align the skeletal structure, and ensure nerve and other soft tissue health is very important for preventing future issues. In addition to Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Massage, taking Omega-3 fish oil and Turmeric supplements are also natural solutions for anti-inflammation. Making sure to establish good exercise and stretching habits, getting massages on a regular basis, can all be helpful for maintenance and prevention of future pain. Don’t ignore whiplash! Beat it before it beats you!