With the recent snow/ice storm that we had earlier this week, I figured that there were quite a few fender benders in the area. So, what better time to talk a little bit about the necessity of at least getting a chiropractic examination after a motor vehicle accident (MVA). Being the culprit of a couple accidents and not getting any chiropractic care afterward, I know first hand the essentiality of seeking care even after a minor incident.
The reason that you should at least get a chiropractic exam after a motor vehicle accident is simple, the accident can do moderate to severe damage to your spinal column even if it was considered a minor accident. Anytime that you get rear-ended, t-boned, or anything else, your head and neck are by far the MOST vulnerable part of your body. They aren't restrained by a seat belt and therefore it's essentially easy to get a whiplash injury after a minor accident.
The reason that whiplash injuries need to be taken seriously is because they not only cause headaches and neck pain, they can actually damage the spinal cord itself. When you get a whiplash, your head lurches forward and then backward again. When this happens, you weaken and even slightly tear the muscles and ligaments attaching to your spine. When this happens, you can actually stretch your spinal cord. Now, you may not feel symptoms right away, but down the road a couple days, months, or even years, you could get chronic headaches, neck pain, numbness and tingling in your arms or even legs, loss of function of areas of your body, weakness, arthritis, and many other serious issues.
This is why is is of utmost importance to at least get a chiropractic consultation and exam after even minor MVAs.
In the meantime, if you need to do some sort of self medication at home, ICE will be your best friend. AVOID HEAT AT ALL COSTS. By putting heat on a strained and swollen area, you will only make the problem worse. It's just like if you were to sprain your ankle. You will never see an athletic trainer put heat on a sprained ankle. It's always ice.
So be careful on the roads especially with all of the holiday traveling coming up and if you do get in even a minor fender bender, at least get a chiropractor to take a look. You'll only be doing yourself and your spine some good.