Old Automobile Neck Injuries

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Question:
Dear Dr. Caraotta,
I was in an automobile accident two years and hurt my neck. I was taken to the emergency room and the doctor checked me over and took an x-ray. He said the x-ray was good and he gave me some pain pills. He instructed me to go to see a doctor in a few days if my pain persisted. I saw another doctor who put me on more medication and told me to use a heating pad. I did this for two months, and my pain went away, but I still get neck pain if I do certain things. I was new to the country and didn’t know anything about chiropractic. Do you think chiropractic could still help me?
Jada

Answer:
You asked a very good question Jada. What you described is a more common scenario than what you may realize. Often times a person will be involved in an automobile accident, get x-rays and the x-rays are normal, but they still have pain because the more serious injury is not in the bone, but in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. In fact insurance companies refer to whiplash type of injuries as “soft tissue injuries”, since the brunt of the injury is in the supportive soft tissues of the neck verses the bone.

When muscles are inflamed, and or injured, since they are attached to the vertebra of the spine, they could tighten up and pull the vertebra out of the correct position causing a subluxation or misalignment of the spine. If this is not corrected, this could cause problems for years and may even result in arthritis.

Chiropractic care could most likely still help you, even though this is a chronic injury. Chiropractic Physicians are specialists in rehabilitating spinal injuries of all varieties including whiplash injuries, and usually incorporate physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation along with range of motion and strengthening exercises. Chiropractic adjustments are the most powerful part of the rehabilitation, since this restores spinal and joint mobility, in ways exercises and other forms of therapy are unable to do. If we exercise an inflamed joint, it becomes more inflamed, therefore, exercises have to be incorporated at the right time and the success of rehabilitation depends on the frequency of treatment, the compliance of home instruction and the extent patients could avoid offending activities which could delay the healing process.

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