We've all been there: the comfortable autopilot of drifting along the road while you're rethinking that conversation you just had, concentrating on the lyrics to an unfamiliar song, or quieting the kids in the back seat.... when...
WHAM! You're in shock. You check to see if you're all right, look back at the kids. No blood? Phew. You sit behind the wheel, shaken to your core. All the possible scenarios of what might have just happened and what might have gone terribly wrong and how your whole day is now shot... these images and thoughts flit through your numbed mind, but you're unable to catch or control any of them.
You get out of your car, surprised at how your legs are shaking. You can feel your heart beating a hundred miles an hour. You've just been in a car accident. You know you're supposed to be calm and cool and collected when talking to the other driver, but it's all you can do to keep your voice from quivering because of the adrenaline rushing through your body.
Car accidents are always unexpected. No one gets into a car and thinks, "And today I'll get in a car wreck." In the blink of an eye, there's a huge noise and it's all over. Even though the accident itself takes mere seconds, the aftermath can last for days... months... even years. It's more than just exchanging insurance information and filling out the paperwork for the police officer. It's more than just the inconvenience of having your car in the shop and watching its value plummet. It's more than just the extra watchfulness that you have every time you get behind the wheel again.
There are definite health impacts that result directly from car accidents. The most famous of them all is whiplash, a deceleration-acceleration cervical spine injury. Even low impact car accidents (say, 10 MPH or less) can result in whiplash. Whiplash is a very complex injury process and can damage a wide variety of delicate ligaments, muscles, and nerves in your neck and shoulders. Studies show that up to half of all whiplash sufferers continue to feel neck pain and headaches a year after the accident.
Right after the accident, you might feel fine. The sudden shock and stress of the accident means that your body is so tense and absorbed with the situation that your brain doesn't have time to process the pain. But what about that night, when you try to relax and go to bed? Or wake up with a stiff neck? Or have pounding headaches the week after the accident? Many whiplash sufferers do not feel the pain immediately, but find themselves in discomfort hours or days later.
There are many other types of pain that you might be feeling after your car accident. Dr. Johnson has seen patients after car accidents with low back pain from the seatbelt across their lap, hip pain from hitting the center console, shoulder pain from striking the driver's side window, head pain from striking the steering wheel. Every car accident is unique, but be aware that every car accident, no matter how minor, transfers severe forces into the human body and causes some type of injury. If you are not treated after a minor car accident, your body may still be trying to process the damage incurred by it. Often, latent trauma will arise 20 or 30 or 40 years later as an area of joint degeneration or degenerative disc disease.
Can you afford to wait after your car accident? Or would you prefer be treated now to prevent problems later? Contact Dr. Johnson of Johnson Family Chiropractic for a full evaluation and examination. If he determines that you need further medical treatment, he will refer you to a doctor who can help you. If he determines that you need chiropractic treatment, he will treat you with the non-invasive and gentle Activator Methods chiropractic technique. This technique does not add extra stress to your already-injured neck or shoulders, but has been shown to improve results in car accident and whiplash cases.
So let us know if you need help. We will do our best to get you back on the road quickly and in full health.