Whiplash is the most common of all car accident injuries and can cause significant pain and discomfort in your neck and upper back. If you went to urgent care of the emergency room after a car accident then you may have received a whiplash diagnosis and recommendation for follow-up treatment. In many cases, treatment for whiplash can help address all your symptoms as well as their root cause. However, car accident injuries are complex and can often involve damage and other injuries as well. One lesser-known injury that can actually cause similar symptoms is called ligament laxity.
Understanding Ligament Laxity
Ligament laxity is a type of medical condition that can cause loose joints. Ligaments are a type of tissue that connects bones together at the joint and help to provide your body with support and stability. A ligament can become damaged from a car accident and cause it to become loose, weak, or even torn. When a ligament is injured, it can lead to joint instability because it can’t properly function and help hold the bones of the joint together. Ligament laxity can cause a misalignment or dislocation in a joint. There are some instances of ligament laxity that do not require any intervention or treatment for whiplash. However, ligament laxity caused by a car accident injury can cause joint pain and discomfort.
Ligament Laxity and Whiplash
The neck is comprised of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that all help support and protect the spine. When all the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your neck are functioning properly, they help keep your spine in healthy alignment so that the individual joints of the spine, known as vertebrae. An injury like whiplash can put undue pressure on your neck, causing the muscles to strain out of their normal range of motion and the ligaments to overextend and become loose. Ligaments in the neck that become overstretched during a car accident can end up causing pain and discomfort because they help support the movements of your head and neck. A ligament is like a rubber band, and if it gets stretched out too much it loses some of its ability to stay taut and hold tension. Similarly, a ligament that gets overstretched from an injury can cause it to be loose and unable to properly support nearby bones and joints.
Diagnosing Whiplash vs. Ligament Laxity
When you visit a doctor after a car accident, they will want to know what symptoms you have been experiencing, when you first noticed them, and whether there has been an increase in severity over time. Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your neck and spine to assess how the car accident has affected you. Car accident doctors are highly skilled and knowledgeable about identifying complex car accident injuries like whiplash and ligament laxity. They may also want to utilize diagnostic imaging tools like an X-ray or CT scan. These medical imaging scans can provide the doctor with a clearer picture of how the structures in your neck were affected by the car accident. An X-ray or CT scan can also help to rule out other potential injuries like broken bones or a herniated disc.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Chiropractors work with the entire musculoskeletal system and focus on how an injury impacts the healthy alignment and functioning of bones and joints. Chiropractic care involves therapeutic, non-invasive treatment for a wide variety of car accident injuries, including whiplash and ligament laxity. Chiropractors work with your body to jumpstart its natural healing abilities and promote healthy functioning naturally. This may involve gentle and safe chiropractic adjustments that help resolve misalignments in bones and joints. When joints like spinal vertebrae are out of place, it can disrupt healthy functioning and communication from the brain to the nervous system. A car accident chiropractor can help identify and resolve these misalignments for healthier functioning. Chiropractors also help with ligament, muscle, and tendon damage from car accident injuries. Through various techniques including therapeutic massage, a chiropractor can help treat your pain symptoms while also addressing the root cause of the injury. You may also work with your chiropractor to learn stretches and exercises to improve your strength and mobility after a car accident.
You don’t have to live with neck and back pain after a car accident. Visit a Marietta chiropractor to learn about treatment for whiplash and experience individualized, comprehensive care at AICA Orthopedic.