Do you need to see a chiropractor after a car accident?

need to see a chiropractor

It’s good practice to visit a chiropractor in the first few days following any kind of car accident. This applies whether you’re experiencing pain or not. You need to see a chiropractor, so that they can evaluate your condition and determine whether any adjustments are necessary after the accident.

Patients with minor injuries from their auto accident may only need an initial course of chiropractic care in the months that follow. This course may include three visits per week for the first month, then visits once a week for one to two more months.

When a patient has a more extensive injury, they may require a more thorough and ongoing course of chiropractic treatment. This course might be three to five visits per week for the first one to two months. As the body continues to heal, these visits may be spaced out to once or twice a week for three to four additional months.

The necessary amount of chiropractic visits varies from patient to patient, depending on the nature of their injuries. An initial visit with your chiropractor in the days following your accident will help determine which course of treatment will best meet your unique needs.

Potential progression of car accident injuries

Some spinal injuries sustained in automobile accidents progress. They appear to be small issues at first, but may worsen over time and lead to more serious problems. This includes injuries to the neck or back that cause degeneration of the intervertebral discs or bones in the spine.

The initial chiropractic care after your car accident will aim to keep you comfortable and resolve any acute issues. You need ongoing maintenance care to slow or stop the progression of your injuries. Monthly visits may be recommended by your chiropractor. This is to determine the status of your injuries and whether or not your spine is still in good shape.

Symptoms are likely to return

Certain injuries to the neck and spine can cause significant damage to the vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Symptoms like pain, tingling, and weakness can occur when this happens and are likely to return in the future. Physical therapy and an initial round of chiropractic visits resolve them temporarily.

If your chiropractor determines that your injuries will lead to ongoing symptoms, you may be advised to return for maintenance visits at specific intervals. These visits are designed to keep symptoms at bay and maintain your quality of life.

You show ongoing improvement

Patients with more serious spinal issues should see their chiropractor on a regular basis for maintenance. This will assist in their condition improving. Healing takes longer for these individuals, and ceasing therapy or care too soon might aggravate their injuries and prevent them from improving.

Chiropractic treatment quickly treats minor car accident injuries. Other injuries can take months or even years to recover from. As a result, physical therapy and chiropractic or maintenance treatment can help.

How long should I wait to see a chiropractor after my car accident? 

If you have been involved in an accident recently, you may wonder exactly how long it can take for an injury to show up. Many car accident injuries manifest immediately. After all, if you have a broken arm or a fractured wrist, it won’t take you long to figure that out. 

Unfortunately, breaks and fractures are just the beginning when it comes to the possible injuries facing a car crash victim. Potential consequences include:

  • Internal injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Pulled muscles

And sometimes, there’s no visible sign of an injury at all. Instead, a victim may later begin to experience headaches, nausea, blurry vision, neck stiffness, and more. In these cases, it can take hours, days, or even weeks for symptoms to appear. 

What to do about delayed injuries

If you begin to experience any symptoms after a car accident, you need to see your doctor immediately. If you’ve tried simple treatments and over-the-counter pain medication to no avail, it may be time to make a trip to the chiropractor. We especially recommend chiropractic care if you have experienced whiplash or have any of these symptoms:

  • Muscle tingling or burning
  • Pain in your back, shoulders, or arms
  • Constant headaches
  • Nausea

Delayed injuries to pay attention to after a car accident

Sometimes accidents happen, from spilling your morning coffee to being involved in a car crash on the way to work. The latter is always stressful, even with the most minor collisions, and injury often results. While vehicles involved might begin their repair processes right away and insurance claims are in the works; physical and emotional injuries can take days or even weeks to appear and last a very long time.

Effects of physical injury after a car accident

One of the most common types of injury sustained in a car accident is whiplash caused by rear-end collisions. These injuries can be very severe and result in brain and neck injury, neck strain, trauma to the head, herniated discs, strained or bruised muscles, and spinal injuries. If you experience symptoms, you need to see a healthcare professional promptly.

All of these maladies have the potential to become long-term and painful results including amputation, paralyzed limbs, and other permanent disabilities. Mental trauma is also a concern, as is damage to soft tissue that causes significant pain in ligaments, tendons, and related muscle groups in the neck, back, knees, and chest. Loss of mobility and capacity to complete everyday tasks is a potential end result that can radically change a person’s lifestyle and even familial dynamics.

Effects of emotional injury after a car accident

If you are fortunate enough to walk away from an accident with only a bump or scrape, it doesn’t mean you are 100% injury-free. Mental and emotional trauma can also have long-term debilitating effects, including shock, fear, random bouts of anger, appetite loss, moodiness, loss of sleep, and other related conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to see a healthcare professional immediately.

In fact, roughly 1/3 of (nonfatal) accident victims suffer these types of symptoms a year or more after an accident. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are also common and have dramatic impacts on people’s lives.

Whether physical or emotional, it is important to seek thorough medical care as soon as possible after a car accident.