Understanding Auto Accidents & Whiplash
Whether you've been injured in an auto accident, a slip and fall or a work related incident, Chiropractic is an essential part of your full recovery. During most traumatic injuries the impacted joint is stressed past its breaking point and structural damage to the muscles, ligaments and joints occur. For practical purposes we will call this a sprain/strain injury. Most of us can relate to this term since we have probably sprained or strained an ankle, knee or shoulder during our lifetime. However, the treatment needed to heal a sprain/strain of the spine can be more in depth than just putting some ice on it and resting a few days. Just what is a sprain/strain? A sprain occurs when a ligament, which defines and limits our normal range of motion, is pushed past what it can hold and is torn. A strain occurs when a muscle is torn through the same action. Then, swelling usually occurs in the joint and the whole area becomes painful and inflamed.
The problem with this type of injury is that the body tends to heal itself with scar tissue. This is the same tissue that your body used to heal your skin from a cut. After the trauma, your body immediately starts to lay down this fibrous tissue in and around the joints, muscles and ligaments. When this inflexible and disorganized tissue is laid down over ligaments, muscles and joints, which are highly organized, it impairs their function. Soon the joints and muscles become full of these fibrous adhesions. In the chronic stage, a sprain/strain can become a vicious cycle of pain, muscle spasm and joint fixation. This condition can even become permanent!
Understanding what causes a sprain/strain and how your body responds to it will also help you to understand how to better treat the cause of the problem. Initially, muscle relaxers, pain killers and anti-inflammatories can be effective at decreasing pain and muscle spasm. However, using medication for more than 6-10 weeks can lead to a worsening of symptoms because they only treat the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. Physical therapy such as heat and ultrasound can help to loosen the tissues and make them more pliable to treatment. Electrical therapies can help to relax the muscles and diminish the pain. Unfortunately, all of these treatments are still incomplete because they only treat the symptoms of a strain/sprain. In essence, a sprain/strain is caused by an inordinate amount of force that misaligns or subluxates the bones and soft tissues of the body. As the brain senses this unstable position it produces muscle spasm to stabilize the area. As fibrous tissue is laid down the patient begins to heal abnormally.
The only way to break the cycle is to eliminate what started it and what keeps it from going back to normal. This means that we must return the area to its proper alignment and break up the fibrous adhesions that impair normal function. The Chiropractic adjustment is the only form of treatment that accomplishes both of these goals. Your Chiropractor is trained to analyze your spine and help return it to it's proper position by making specific adjustments. Our office always recommends massage therapy to facilitate the healing of the muscular part of the injury. Some people may be apprehensive when they first go to the Chiropractor, but your Chiropractor has been trained in many painless techniques to aid your healing and remove the subluxations and misalignments of your spine. What your Chiropractor needs from you is for you to work with him to regain your full range of motion and full health.
Remember, it was a physical force that originally caused the sprain / sprain. Doesn't it make sense that it may take a corrective force to provide your body with the best chance for a full recovery? Delaying seeing your Chiropractor only diminishes your chances of complete recovery. Healing correctly takes time and treatments can sometimes last for many months, but the results are life long. Our treatment plans are aimed at your total wellness and your cooperation is important. Our office also works with doctors from all different disciplines and we consider referral an important part of your care. With all of us working together you can reach your maximum potential for improvement. So stay on track and you'll be on your way to better health before you know it.