Nearly 3 million people in the U.S. are injured in car accidents every year. That’s more than 10 times the population of Thurston County. In the moment, car accidents are terrifying. Afterwards, you may feel like you walked away unharmed, but sometimes injuries do not always show up right away, especially if they are internal. “Some injuries can go unnoticed for days or even weeks after a collision occurs,” says Dr. George Olar, who owns 360 Chiropractic in Lacey with his wife, Dr. Stefanie Olar. ­

After an accident, it’s always good to get check out by a chiropractor as soon as you can, even if you feel fine at first, because sometimes symptoms show up days later. Photo courtesy: The Advocates Injury Attorneys

While modern vehicles have all kinds of safety features, there is not much they can do to protect the neck, head and back from being injured during an accident. The actual injury to soft tissues happens so rapidly that normal protective muscle reflexes cannot respond in time to reduce or prevent injury, explains Dr. George.

When my niece (now a college student) was in her teens, she seemed to be a car-accident magnet. Always the passenger, she would walk away seemingly unscathed. Until a few days later when she would start having issues. Trouble with her neck, shoulders and even her head, including headaches that wouldn’t go away. She even suffered a concussion due to one of the accidents. In the others, her body had been jarred so badly that everything was out of alignment. Whiplash is a common injury that may not show symptoms until 24 hours or more have gone by, according to WebMD.  And left untreated soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, can cause chronic pain and instability to the area, says Dr. George. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a chiropractor shortly after an accident.

“Your chiropractor will do a full body evaluation and identify any issues they see,” adds Stefanie, “they will recommend a custom treatment plan which may include chiropractic manipulations, massage therapy, low level laser therapy (LLT) and/ or rehabilitative exercises.”

Dr. George and Dr. Stefanie have five reasons why you should call the chiropractor as soon as your able to after a car accident, including benefits that will help you feel like pre-accident you quicker.

#1 – Reduce Headaches and Migraines

“One of the most common symptoms due to injuries sustained in an accident people experience are headaches and migraines,” explains Dr. George. “Because the head moves back forth so quickly during a collision, these areas are more susceptible to an injury.”

Chiropractors treat headaches and migraines almost every day in patients that suffer from them for a myriad of reasons, including the after-effects of a car-related injury like whiplash. “There are several techniques, including spinal adjustments and massage therapy, which help to release tense muscles that could be causing you pain,” shares Dr. Stefanie.

#2 – Prevent Tissue Scarring and Inflammation

Another common issue people face from a car accident is swelling in the neck and spine. Inflammation is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve been injured and can leave you feeling like your mobility is significantly decreased. “If you’re experiencing any heat or swelling in your neck or back after your accident, you should see a chiropractor right away,” says Dr. Stefanie.

“Chiropractors can also help reduce any tissue scarring,” adds Dr. George. Scar tissue can be painful and cause issues long after the accident if left untreated. “Chiropractic manipulation is one of the safest ways to help remodel scar tissue so that you can heal correctly.”

#3 – Increase Your Range of Motion

360 Chiropractic in Lacey sees a lot of patients recovering from injuries of all types. They can help you get back feeling normal, quicker. Photo courtesy: The Advocates Injury Attorneys

Being injured after an accident can severely impact your range of motion and make everyday tasks feel like chores. Even walking, sitting or sleeping may become unbearable to do.

“Muscles are known to stiffen up after a crash, mainly to prevent any further damage from happening,” explains Dr. George. But those stiff muscles can pull your joints, especially ribs and vertebrae, into places they shouldn’t be, and can actually hinder your body from healing itself. “To get moving again, your chiropractor will help your muscles relax and start functioning properly,” he adds.

#4 – Receive an Attorney Referral

Sometimes, you may be dealing with the legal system after your accident. It’s important to note that chiropractors work closely with personal injury attorneys. If you were recently injured in an accident, talk to an attorney to make sure you are given the right information, says The Advocates Injury Attorneys.

“At 360 Chiropractic, we have experience working with many injury lawyers in the local community,” says Dr. Stefanie. “We may recommend you speak with a lawyer to help with each step along the way so that you can focus on healing.”

#5 – Avoid Long-term Pain, Medical Procedures

Certainly, the most common reason to visit a chiropractor after an accident is to help avoid long-term pain. Car collisions can cause untold damage to the body, especially in the neck, back and spine, shares Dr. George.

According to Dorothy L. Marshall, DC, in her article published by the Australian Chiropractic & Osteopathy (ACO) and PubMed Central, 45 percent to 85 percent of people who suffer a whiplash injury have the symptoms five years after the accident, and 82 percent had a straightening or reversal of their cervical curvature.

“Temporary solutions, such as pain relievers and medication only mask the real problem at hand and can carry their own specific risks,” adds Dr. Stefanie. “Chiropractic therapy is a holistic treatment method that not only gets to the root of the problem, it helps alleviate your pain as well.”

If you have been injured in a car accident recently, definitely get to a chiropractor. Were you in accident years ago and still in pain? Drs. George and Stefanie Olar can help you, too. Car accidents are terrifying, but you don’t have to be terrified about lasting pain.

Call 360 Chiropractic at 360-923-0360 or visit the 360 Chiropractic website to schedule an appointment.

360 Chiropractic
5101 Lacey Blvd SE, Lacey


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