Car accidents can cause a broad range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to serious damage to the brain and other vital organs. Whenever any trauma is inflicted on the body, inflammation is often one of the first signs, as the body tries to protect itself from further damage. Even if you don’t have any discernible injuries after a crash, your body could become inflamed, leading to a range of problems. Visiting a Marietta chiropractor can treat not only injuries, but also inflammation after an accident, aiding in recovery and reducing future pain.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is an immune response in the body, activated when any harmful illness or injury is detected. When something like a car accident occurs, the body responds by producing more white blood cells, immune cells, and cytokines to help fight off any danger. This increased production causes redness, swelling, and pain in the inflamed area, and though it offers protection in the immediate aftermath, prolonged inflammation is not normal. Inflammation in delicate areas like the spine can also have an impact on other body parts and cause functional issues if it is not addressed.
In a car accident, the ligaments and muscles that make up your spine can be stretched or experience micro-tears. These are painful but often not detected on diagnostic scanning. The first sign of injury may be pain and inflammation. Other injuries like lacerations, broken bones, or whiplash may also induce inflammation.
Most inflammation experienced after a crash is temporary and related to a specific injury. However, some cases of inflammation can be chronic, or the trauma involved may trigger another condition. For example, post-traumatic arthritis can occur following some accidents and cause long-term issues. Any injury that is not addressed properly by a professional can lead to chronic inflammation in the future.
How Chiropractic Care Helps
Many times, people turn to medication to manage inflammation. Common over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs are designed to address the inflammation in addition to pain, and while these can be helpful for short-term relief, they do not address the root of the problem. Sustained use of NSAIDs, like any pain medication, can also have negative effects on the body. Stomach, kidney, and liver damage have all been reported in those who regularly use NSAIDs.
Instead, chiropractors address the root cause of the inflammation- the injury sustained during your car crash. Chiropractic care has been shown to reduce inflammation by reducing natural anti-inflammatory cytokines into the body. Additionally, adjustments may release pressure on the nerves and muscles, allowing the body to heal properly and stop the inflammation response.
Treatments for Inflammation
The first thing your chiropractor will do is look at your medical history and discuss your accident and symptoms with you; they will then perform a physical exam to identify any inflammation and injuries. This can help them develop a customized plan to treat your inflammation, which may involve several methods of treatment.
Chiropractic adjustments will always be the most important part of healing inflammation after a car accident. By manually adjusting the spine and restoring alignment, the body is better able to communicate and release anti-inflammatory signals where needed. Proper alignment of the spine can also relieve pressure between vertebrae, allowing for inflammation to be reduced.
Your Marietta chiropractor may also use ultrasound or a TENS unit as a part of your recovery. Ultrasound used at a low intensity can reduce inflammation in the joints specifically, helping to facilitate tissue repair. A TENS unit, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit, stimulates nerves and muscles using a low electrical current. This is often used for soft tissue injuries where inflammation is a problem.
Like any injury, it is important to rest, stay hydrated, and avoid strenuous activity as a part of treatment for inflammation.
While inflammation related to car accidents is hard to prevent, a Marietta chiropractor will also work with you to ensure your lifestyle doesn’t leave you at risk for further inflammation. A reduction in stress and increase in sleep can lead to a healthy body that functions well without relying on inflammation, and certain foods can reduce inflammation. Even once an injury has healed, it is important to help your body stay healthy by focusing on these areas.
At AICA Marietta, your chiropractor will consider your car accident as well as your long-term health and goals to create an individualized plan to manage inflammation. Call us today to schedule your first consultation!