If you’ve been in a serious car accident then you may have been checked out at the scene by paramedics or even visited the emergency room or your doctor afterward. But what if you were in a fender-bender or small car accident that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time? Unfortunately, any time you are in an accident you run the risk of being injured, even if you can’t see it or notice it right away. Fender-benders might seem like more of an annoyance than anything else, but when you’ve been rear-ended it can actually lead to a common car accident injury known as whiplash. If the force of the impact jostled you around then you should visit a whiplash chiropractor to get checked out.
Symptoms of Whiplash After a Car Accident
A headache after a car accident may be the first sign that something is physically wrong. While a car accident is a stressful experience enough to cause a headache, you might also experience headaches as a symptom of a more serious car accident injury. While scrapes, bruises, and even broken bones are obvious outward injuries, there are also internal injuries that can occur with even the smallest car accident. Muscle pain in your neck and even along your shoulders and upper back can occur, which can lead to swelling, tenderness, and stiffness. You may also notice your neck is sore and have difficulty turning your head from side to side without pain and discomfort.
Other symptoms of whiplash can show up in the hours and days after the accident because of how your body naturally reacts to that kind of trauma. Shock and adrenaline are both ways your body can use to cope with a stressful experience like a car accident, and both of these responses can actually mask symptoms of pain and discomfort until you are able to relax and they start to wear off. That means you might not realize right away that you’ve been injured until the symptoms start to set in.
Duration and Severity of Whiplash Symptoms
If you start to experience a headache after the car accident that doesn’t seem to go away or gets worse in the hours and even days afterward, it’s time to see a whiplash chiropractor. Your whiplash chiropractor will want to know when you first noticed your symptoms and how long they lasted. For example, it helps to know if you have experienced headaches that come and go, or if it seems like one long headache that is gradually getting worse. Keep track of your whiplash symptoms as you notice them and whether or not they get worse at certain times or with specific movements. This can help your doctor better determine what specific areas may be damaged or injured from the accident.
How Whiplash Is Diagnosed
A whiplash chiropractor will want to talk to you about your symptoms from right after the accident occurred all the way through to your appointment. They will likely also perform a physical exam to assess how your head, neck, shoulders, and spine have been affected. If your range of motion is affected by the whiplash then they want to assess your level of mobility. There isn’t a specific test that diagnoses whiplash, so your doctor will use a combination of your reported symptoms, the physical examination, and diagnostic imaging tools to determine the appropriate diagnosis. X-rays and MRIs can also help your whiplash chiropractor rule out other possible injuries that can cause headaches and other symptoms, like a concussion or a spinal fracture.
How Whiplash and Headaches Are Treated
Chiropractors know how to treat whiplash by providing natural, non-invasive treatment options for whiplash and headaches after a car accident. Chiropractic care involves approaching your body holistically and identifying any spinal misalignments that may be affecting your body’s ability to function effectively. A whiplash chiropractor may use therapeutic massage to address swelling and sore neck muscles. Chiropractic adjustments are also a safe and gentle way to restore any vertebrae or spinal discs that may be slightly out of place. Stretches and exercises can also help address your sore, stiff muscles and improve the range of motion in your neck.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are frustrated by headaches that won’t seem to go away, then visit a Conyers whiplash chiropractor at AICA Orthopedics. Our team of car accident and whiplash chiropractors have the knowledge and experience to address all kinds of car accident injuries and help provide you with lasting pain relief while you heal.