If you’re involved in a car accident, you’ll probably walk away with some aches and pains, even if you didn’t suffer any critical injuries. The impact of a collision is damaging to the human body. You may be left with soreness, stiffness, immobility, or twinging pains in your back, neck, or shoulders.
These minor but uncomfortable misalignments can get worse over time and can even signify a more serious underlying issue. A chiropractor is typically the most qualified professional to treat ailments of this type.
So, how long should you wait before going to a chiropractor after an accident? It’s recommended that you see a chiropractor within three days following your car crash.
After your initial meeting and evaluation, your chiropractor will be able to recommend a course of treatment. In most cases, you will attend appointments with your chiropractor more frequently in the first few weeks and then taper off as you reach recovery.
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Do I Need To See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?
Not everyone needs to see a chiropractor after a car accident. But because of the way many car crashes occur, a high number of vehicle occupants experience a sharp, jerking back and forth of the head and neck. This results in the condition commonly referred to as “whiplash.”
Whiplash is a hyperflexion/hyperextension injury, meaning that the head is whipped quickly forward (hyperflexion) and backward (hyperextension). Rear-end collisions are among the most common causes of whiplash injuries.
In the day or two following an auto collision, you may start experiencing pain and mild to moderate symptoms. But some victims of car accidents don’t experience any symptoms right away. There’s a possibility that you’ll feel fine for several days and weeks—until you start to experience body disturbances that affect sleep, exercise, or your ability to sit comfortably at your work desk for the duration of your working hours.
Whether you experience immediate-onset symptoms or not, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment for a chiropractic evaluation. An experienced professional will be able to identify and take care of any minor issues before they become more serious. In the future, it may also be too late to have the cost of chiropractic care covered if you wait to begin seeking treatment.
What Auto Accident Injuries Should Be Treated by a Chiropractor?
Whiplash is the primary car accident injury that requires the care of a chiropractor. If you know that your neck and head suffered a “whipping” motion in the accident, or if you begin to notice any of the symptoms listed below, it’s probable that you sustained a whiplash injury in the auto accident.
- Pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, and/or back
- Tingling sensations in the arms and shoulders
- Feelings of burning
- Stiffness and pain that increases with movement
- Limited range of motion in the arms, shoulders, and neck
- Blurred vision
- Depression and mood changes
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
Other Car Accident Injuries That May Require Chiropractic Care
In addition to whiplash, those involved in a collision may experience any of the following issues that can benefit from the care of a chiropractic professional:
- Herniated disc
- Muscle and tissue strains, tears, and sprains
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder injuries
What Is the Benefit of Seeing a Chiropractor for Accident Injuries?
A chiropractor can conduct a thorough assessment to determine what injuries or misalignment you sustained in the car crash. Chiropractors are trained to detect injuries that may be “hidden,” meaning that they are not immediately obvious until they begin to manifest symptoms at a later time.
A thorough chiropractic exam includes tests on muscle strength and tone, pain, reflexes, sensations, range of motion, nerve pathways, and posture. X-rays, hands-on tests, observation of movement, questions about the recent trauma, and analysis of patient health history are commonly used to help chiropractors reach a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan.
You can expect that your chiropractor will be able to come to a diagnosis and proposed recovery plan in your initial meeting. Leaving your first visit at a chiropractor’s office, you should have important information such as:
- The type and severity of any injuries you sustained in the car accident
- The risk of not treating injuries
- How long you will need to treat the injuries
- If a full recovery is possible
- Any massage therapy, exercises, rubbing, and therapeutic motions you can do to facilitate the recovery
- How often and for how long you should see the chiropractor
- Any medication or dietary adjustments that would be helpful to your recovery
- Pain management techniques
- Ideal postures when sitting, standing, walking, and driving
- Expected outcome of the treatment plan
- Cost of care
Can I Afford a Chiropractor?
Many health insurance companies cover chiropractic care. Be sure to check with your chiropractor’s office and your health insurance carrier to make sure your treatments will be covered under your insurance policy.
Additionally, if your car accident was caused by another driver, you may be able to recover the cost of all medical expenses—including chiropractic treatments—through a car accident claim.
It’s common for car accident victims to think their accident was too minor to take legal action. Many people who are involved in mild fender benders walk away believing they escaped without injury. But when you wake up one morning with soreness that won’t go away, you quickly realize that the accident caused damage that you now have to pay to treat. When a negligent driver caused you to incur those expenses, it should be their financial responsibility—not yours.
Legal Help for Chicago Car Accident Victims
Not sure how to begin the process of filing a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company? We can help.
Our expert legal guidance as top-rated Chicago car accident lawyers comes at no cost to you. Just schedule a no-fee initial case evaluation with our office. We’ll help set you on the path to full financial recovery.