Neck Pain Resulting from auto accidents, particularly whiplash-type injuries, is categorized as neck pain with coordination deficits. Whiplash injuries require an evidence-based approach to treat their symptoms and prevent long-term chronic effects, which can be debilitating if not addressed early.
Low Back Pain: Following a car accident, back pain may manifest as localized moderate to severe pain in the spine, shooting discomfort down the legs, pain in the sacral or hip area. These issues can arise due to a sprain or strain on the back from the impact of the accident, leading to lumbar instability. Often, lumbar discs are also damaged, which can compress nerves. After an auto accident, you may be diagnosed with bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, muscle spasms, sciatica, or lumbar sprain/strain.
The Best Approach to an Auto Accident injury to your spine:
1. Control Pain and Promote Healing:
- Soft tissue release, tolerable massage, and pressure point techniques.
- Specific muscle activation techniques, targeting cervical/lumbar stabilizers while inhibiting muscles that promote poor posture or aggravate spasms and radiating pains.
- Conduct postural/form analysis and training, emphasizing proper form during movement (walking, sports, lifting/carrying) and in static positions (sitting, standing for extended periods).
2. Regain Mobility and Strength:
- Manage whiplash injury symptoms with neck and upper body coordination training.
- Perform coordination exercises with good mobility and control in the upper body.
- Focus on upper body strength and endurance training.
- Stabilize the lumbar spine through a combination of core strengthening and improving lower extremity condition, especially the hips.
3. Manage Fear of Movement and Eliminate Compensatory Motions:
- Ensure clients thoroughly understand their injury and the involved body parts to promote confidence in returning to high-level activities as they progress in pain and strength.
- Overcoming the fear of movement quickly, reduces the likelihood of developing chronic disability in the spine. The ultimate goal for sprain/strain injuries caused by auto accidents is to prevent them from becoming lifelong chronic injuries/impairments. The sooner you can resume moving your neck/back without pain and with improved stability, the less likely you are to develop chronic impairment.