If you’ve ever been in a fender bender, you were probably more concerned about damage to your car than damage to your body. After all, the airbags didn’t deploy and you felt okay. You might have been a little stiff the next day, but that’s no big deal, right?
Wrong, warns Dr. Smith. Even if you received a medical examination, spinal injuries could still have ensued, which only a doctor of chiropractic may detect. Symptoms might not appear for weeks, months — or even years — later.
A common result of car accidents, whiplash is an umbrella term for injuries caused by sudden flexion followed by extension of the neck. Researchers have found that this chain of events triggers a complex set of distortions throughout the spine (Chin J Traumatol 2009;12:305-14).
The obvious effects of a whiplash injury are pain and stiffness in the neck, but a range of other symptoms are also possible. For instance, chronic headaches are common.
Mental and emotional disturbances associated with whiplash include poor concentration, sleep disturbances, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (Emerg Med J 2002;19:499-506).
Although it is preferable to seek chiropractic care immediately following a car accident, it is vital that anybody who has even been in an accident receive a chiropractic evaluation — regardless of how much time has passed.