Turn on the news and you are faced with multiple motorcycle and auto accidents in Las Vegas. Whether from drunk driving or an obstacle in the road, people are injured, sometimes fatally. News 3 in Las Vegas recently reported that the fatality from a SUV and motorcycle crash resulted in the 81st traffic related death in the Metro’s jurisdiction in 2015.
Those that suffer injury from these accidents can be in a great deal of pain. Chiropractic care can be the treatment needed to alleviate the pain. Many patients seeking chiropractic treatment are victims of motorcycle or auto accidents. Although injuries can vary from person to person due to the accidents, three common complaints are seen at the chiropractor’s office.
Whiplash is the term used to characterize the neck pain from an accident, typically from behind, that has stretched the muscles and injured the soft tissues, vertebrae, joints or discs from the impact. This pain can become chronic, even after any sprains or strains have healed. The patient may complain of headaches, stiffness, or dizziness.
The cervical spine consists of the neck vertebrae, discs, and joints. In whiplash cases from an auto accident, the cervical spine is forced to change shape for an instant. This can lead to pain as the soft tissue, joints, and discs move beyond their normal limits in that moment.
Shoulder and Upper Back Pain
The thoracic spine extends from the base of the neck to a few inches below the shoulder blades. The impact force from an auto accident can move the vertebrae, discs, or joints out of place or create muscle sprains or strains. The upper back area has limited movement usually, so it would take an impact from the crash to move the thoracic spine beyond its range of motion.
A patient experiencing this type of pain may also feel numbness, tingling, and burning. Due to the thinner vertebrae and narrower area for the spinal canal, trauma can create pinched nerves that will cause the pain to be felt both in localized and radiated areas.
Lower Back Pain
The lumbar spine, referred to as the lower back, is located from a few inches below the shoulder blades to the sacrum. Due to having a large range of motion, this area may experience trauma easier than the upper back during an auto accident. If the vertebrae, discs, or joints are pushed beyond their boundary, they will compress a nerve root and cause pain in the lower back or down the legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest in the human body and if compressed, pain can be stabbing or throbbing, and felt down one leg.
Chiropractors can treat all three of these common injuries. The length of treatment will vary with the individual and the auto accident. Many patients may receive relief from chiropractic manipulation, strength-building exercises, and heat or ice compresses. The chiropractor will evaluate and diagnose the injury and discuss with the patient their personalized plan of care for treatment.