by Kristy Como Armand
If you or someone you know has ever been in a serious car accident, then you know pain and discomfort can immediately follow, and impact an individual’s life for months or even years. Neck and back pain, stiffness and restricted range of motion are all very common. Whether you’ve had a major collision or relatively minor fender bender, chiropractic care after a vehicle accident can help reduce pain and restore pain-free movement.
“The impact from a car wreck can cause stress on the neck and back that may result in dysfunction of the vertebral joints and muscle strains. This may also lead to loss of range of motion and pain in the neck and back, “explains Dr. Joseph Kulaga, chiropractor and co-owner of Lake Charles Chiropractic. “Our goal is to identify the source of pain, acknowledge if we can help restore spinal joint function, and reduce neck and back pain, to help get their life back to where it was before the car wreck occurred by developing a customized treatment plan to promote healing and recovery.”
Whiplash is a common injury in vehicle accidents. He explains that a whiplash injury occurs when the force of a rear-impact accident causes the abrupt movement of the cervical spine backward and forward. The spine is essentially “whipped” back and forth. Whiplash typically results in stress on the spine and strain to the neck muscles, which causes pain, soreness, and stiffness. Whiplash can also cause other symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and even hearing and vision problems. Dr. Kulaga says he sees many patients who have tension headaches due to car accidents. “A customized treatment plan that involves gentle, targeted manipulation can help relieve the pain and stiffness of whiplash,” says Dr. Kulaga.
More direct muscle strains and sprains caused by a car accident often result in pain and restrict flexibility and range of motion, especially in the lower back. “Chiropractic adjustments can not only relieve pressure on the nerves and may help relax strained muscles from a car wreck, but also may bring normal joint function to the spine. This, in some cases, with the additions of other therapies we offer at our clinic, may help the patient get their life back to where it was before the accident occurred. Chiropractic manipulation, or what many call the adjustment, may help to reduce pain and improve mechanical function and mobility which can be very important after a car wreck due to possible injuries and loss of range of motion of the spine,” says Dr. Kulaga.
Some injuries from vehicle accidents don’t always cause symptoms right away – delayed symptoms can occur hours and even days later. One of these is sciatica. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.
“The symptoms of sciatica can be sudden or delayed, depending on the severity of the injury and the body’s response to pain after a significant traumatic event like a car accident,” says Dr. Kulaga. Common symptoms of sciatica can include a tingling sensation that runs from the lower back and down the back of the leg, weakness or numbness along the leg or the foot, and pain and difficulty sitting. Other symptoms of sciatica that may present include numbness or weakness in the lower back and along the leg.
No one wants to be left with lingering pain and loss of mobility after a car crash “Chiropractic treatment can be very effective for treating someone with neck pain, back pain and sciatica pain due to injuries sustained from car wrecks,” says Dr. Kulaga.
For more information, call Dr. Kulaga at Lake Charles Chiropractic and Functional Medicine at (337) 240-6619 or visit www.lakecharleschiro.com.