Accidents cause spinal misalignments in the body, a serious condition that distorts your structure, irritates nerves, bones, ligaments and discs and can damage your overall health. Any accident, no matter how mild, can create nerve-damaging misalignments.
It is for that reason that if you have ever been in an accident or fall, no matter how minor, you need a chiropractic spinal checkup to ensure that your spine is free from these health-destroying abnormalities. Only a chiropractor is trained to analyze your spine for the vertebral subluxation complex.
Is chiropractic care helpful in serious accidents? Absolutely! But in such situations it is necessary to first attend to any life-threatening emergency such as bleeding or hemorrhage, stoppage of breath, loss of fluid electrolytes, internal organ damage, broken bones, serious contusions or abrasions, shock and the like. This is the specialty of the medical profession: dealing with trauma.
Long-term damage to the spine and head is especially common in auto accidents. Doctors of chiropractic have for years recognized that most victims of automobile injuries do not fully recover under medical care - they may continue to have problems for years after the accident because their structure is often ignored. New medical terms acknowledging the incomplete healing of accident victims have recently arisen: Postconcussion Syndrome (PCS), Whiplash Syndrome (WS), Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI), and Mild Head Injury (MHI).2
All people who have been in an accident or trauma should see a chiropractor to have their spinal columns checked for nerve pressure caused by vertebral subluxations or spinal stress. A chiropractic adjustment can make the difference between life and death, between a life with pain, disability and sickness and a life of true recovery, activity and accomplishment.
1. Hadley, L.A. Intervertebral joint subluxation, bony impingement and foramen encroachment with nerve root change. American Journal of Roentgenology and Radiological Therapeutics, 1951, 65, pp. 337-402.
Nearly one third of all motor vehicle accidents are rear end collisions, and it is this type of accident that is responsible for most whiplash injuries.
Biomechanics, the study of how mechanical forces affect living organisms, is useful in explaining how even a "minor" rear end collision can result in a serious injury. The biomechanics of a common rear end collision can be understood as a sequence of events, one following the other. Newton's First Law of Motion states that, "An object remains at rest or in a state of motion in a straight line unless it is acted upon by an outside force." To put this into practical terms, if you are sitting in your car at a stop light ("at rest") and are then struck by another vehicle from behind, ("acted upon by an outside force"), you will immediately not be ("at rest") anymore.
In this common scenario of whiplash-type injuries, your car is propelled forward, and as you sit in your seat with your torso supported by the car seat, it too goes forward. What doesn't go forward in that split second is your head. It generally stays where it is, but relative to your torso, it travels backward as your car travels forward.
Have you ever had someone come from behind you and push you between your shoulder blades, and felt your head go backwards? Whiplash biomechanics are just like that, only much more severe.
Hyperextension, or the abrupt movement of the head backwards, usually causes the most damage in a whiplash injury, since there are no anatomical restrictions to the range of motion. As a result of this sudden forceful movement of the head backward, numerous types of injuries can occur.
Tearing of the front muscles and ligaments of the neck is common. (Muscles move bones, and ligaments hold bones together.) Disc herniations are also possible, and fractures are also of great concern.
When the vehicle finally stops as a result of braking or hitting another object, your body is propelled forward, sometimes hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or airbag. If you are wearing a shoulder restraint, your head will fly forward, with a twisting motion, resulting in hyperflexion of the neck.
If you would like any more information on whiplash and the symptoms it can cause, please feel free to contact us.
In Alberta, chiropractic treatment for injuries that have been diagnosed as minor and that are a result from an MVA is billed directly to your insurance company. If you have been injured in a collision please follow this process.
Within 10 days of the collision
If the injuries are not considered minor, or if at the end of treatment the injuries have not resolved, contact your insurer to see how to access your Section B benefits for lost income/additional coverage. Every Albertan is entitled to $750 of chiropractic care coverage under Section B, but access to these benefits varies based on your individual policy.