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By Clayton Bowman, DO

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has noted 5.25 million police reported automobile crashes in 2020. They also estimate that the number of miles driven in 2021 went up by a staggering 325 billion miles, and will likely continue to increase. It’s easy to extrapolate that as our mileage increases, so too does the chance of having an automobile accident. While hopefully this tragic event can be avoided, there are many who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in this predicament. That’s where I may be able to help.

After an automobile accident, many people find themselves with, at least, painful and stiff muscles. If this is the case, I would like to offer a brief primer of many treatment options that may be available to help you regain function and reduce pain.

1. Chiropractic Treatment- Deriving its name from the two Greek words “Cheir” meaning hand, and “Praktos” meaning done, this remarkable manual treatment started by Daniel David Palmer has been a mainstay of treatment for musculoskeletal conditions since 1895. By manipulating the spine, a chiropractor can restore mobility, loosen stiff muscles, and reduce pain.

2. Heat/Ice – A remedy as old as time (probably), it’s frequently the first thing that comes to mind when musculoskeletal pain starts. Damage to muscles results in inflammation, which in turn causes pain and swelling. Ice therapy (often in conjunction with other treatments, which we’ll get into later) may help reduce these symptoms. Ice usually works better early on in treatment. Heat can help to soothe soreness in muscles by allowing blood vessels to open up and improve removal of cellular waste. Heat usually works best at least a few days to a week after an accident.

3. Traction – This treatment involves manually or mechanically created stretching to mobilize muscles. Stretching of tight muscles not only helps to relieve pain, it may also help to relieve compression of spinal nerve roots.

4. Massage – This one I’m sure you’re familiar with. Massage therapy from a licensed massage therapist is a great option for musculoskeletal pain (as well as just relaxing in general). Essentially, massage is just rubbing, pressing, and manipulating skin, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Benefits of massage include relaxing stiff muscles, decreasing inflammation, improved circulation to soft tissues, and of course, pain reduction. It also may be a benefit for anxiety and/or depression, which frequently accompany automobile accidents.

5. Ultrasound – Low Intensity Cutaneous Ultrasound (LICUS) is a series of mechanical waves with a frequency over 20 khz. When the waves go through a medium (namely your soft tissues), it helps blood vessels dilate thereby improving oxygenation and nutrient supply to tissues.

6. Exercise – This one may be self explanatory, but please humor. Exercise therapy, generally, involves stretching of tight and stiff muscles. There are different types of exercise, but ultimately, the goal is improving range of motion, giving muscle strength for better support, and reduction of pain.

While this list is not exhaustive, it is a quick rundown of some common treatment modalities that you may be offered if you have an automobile accident. Remember, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner the pain will relent. Clayton Bowman, D.O.

Clayton Bowman, D.O.

If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group  to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.

Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations:

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