Ever wonder what your x-rays would look like after a car accident? I’m going to show you firsthand what they look like and why. The video below will show you two cases of average sized women in their mid 20’s with no prior history of back pain or spinal problems.
In case #1 on top you can see how this side-swipe auto accident has caused spinal alignment issues throughout the entire back. The caveat on this person is that this accident happened 5 years ago and was never evaluated and treated properly!! So we are now years later and this patient has sudden neck pain, low back pain, upper and mid back pain, headaches and an overall feeling of hurting all over the place- just all of a sudden, with no explanation or incident. As I was able to talk with her about underlying causes or past incidents, we spoke about her car wreck in the past and how she was in pain initially, but it seemed to go away on its own and she figured everything was fine. Now it’s not. This is a situation that I see all too often… accident happens, pain goes away by itself, cause has not been corrected properly, pain returns years later. This happens regularly!!!
Case #2 will show you x-rays of a patient that was in a motor vehicle accident two weeks prior to the x-ray being taken. She also came in feeling neck pain, shoulder pain, mid and lower back pain, headache and also some concussion symptoms. In her x-ray you can also see the alignment problem from top to bottom in a girl who previously had zero symptoms or history of back problems. These two cases are interesting to compare because of the similarities they share in the x-ray findings. It’s a good lesson that if the spine is not properly evaluated and treated after a car, motorcycle or 18 wheeler accident the underlying problem will remain even if the symptoms go away for a while. Research has shown that the sooner whiplash and trauma injuries are detected and fixed the better chance they have of not becoming problem that could turn into chronic pain.
For those in a recent motor vehicle accident, it’s always a good idea to use ice regularly at home to help decrease the inflammation and swelling. Heat is not advisable because it brings more blood flow to the area and makes it more difficult for the soft tissues to heal. Ice will push the blood flow away to help the repair process to begin in the connective tissues. For extreme pain after an accident, get checked in the emergency room to have any fractures or trauma detected. The next step in treatment is a trained chiropractor in whiplash and car accident injuries. Chiropractors certified in personal injury are trained to detect issues with spinal movement and alignment, proper curvature, ligament and muscular injuries, concussion symptoms, disc herniation, pinched nerves that can cause numbness, tingling and weakness.
Hope this is informative to you. If you have any specific questions, feel free to call me personally at our office- 512-405-0400. Most of our patients come from the Kyle, Buda, and San Marcos TX area,, but if you have a loved one in another part of the country needing help, I can help you find a chiropractor that has the necessary training to do so.
Dr. Ryan Browning
3 Keys to Avoid Chronic Neck or Back Pain After a Car Accident – Tips From Whiplash Expert Dr. Ryan Browning, D.C.
Having seen hundreds of patients after car crashes there are many mistakes that people make which cause longer lasting and sometimes permanent damage to the spine from a car accident or whiplash trauma. Many patients come in shortly after a motor vehicle accident and some come in a long time after once they are aware that their chronic neck or back pain is not going away. One of my jobs as their chiropractor is to educate them on how they can get better now and stay better in the future. Here are 3 tips of things to do after any car wreck.
#1- Seek immediate treatment or an opinion. If you are in an accident and there is immediate pain, it needs to be tended to immediately. This initial pain very well may worsen in the next day or two, so the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better. High levels of pain should be checked in the emergency room to rule out bone fractures or other trauma to the body’s vital organs or the intervertebral discs. Whether or not trauma care in the E.R. is necessary, the next step should be a specialist in whiplash. This would be specific chiropractors. All chiropractors can see a car accident patient, but you want one who is expert in this area. You want one that has post-doctorate training and certification in whiplash and auto accident trauma to be the one to examine your injuries. The higher the level of training in this area, the higher the specificity in finding and helping to resolve your problems.
#2- Start with ICE to reduce inflammation, not heat! One of the most basic rules of treatment is that ice helps decrease inflammation because it pushes the blood away from the muscles, tendons, ligaments, all the soft tissues that are trying to heal after an injury. Heat will bring blood towards the area thus making it more difficult to repair the area. When in doubt, ice! I am continually amazed how often a patient comes in after an accident and they have been told by someone to put heat on it- even from the E.R. and urgent care centers!! Try to get extra amounts of water for hydration to the muscles and extra rest as your body is working in overdrive to repair itself and will feel fatigued and run down for a while.
#3- At a minimum, get spinal x-rays to check the alignment and curvatures of the spine as well as under the radar fractures that may occur. This is necessary before undergoing any form of treatment! Just a few months ago I examined a woman after her car accident. She inquired if her son should be checked as well since he had a little bit of pain. After I agreed, she brought him in and I started with an examination and x-rays. I found a large fracture at his fifth lumbar vertebrae! If he had begun many forms of treatment without knowing about this he would have been injured worse from treatment. This case was a surprise since his levels of pain were much lower than expected with this finding. As a rule, after a car accident, at least get spinal x-rays and a complete examination performed by a car accident chiropractor that is expert in this area.