It’s all a bit blurry. It occurred so fast that you didn’t see it coming. You still can’t fathom how it all happened.

You’ve been in a car accident, and the pain radiating from your neck and shoulder won’t let you forget about it. You think you can push through the day — you have so much to do — but your throbbing headaches are making it difficult to function.

It’s only been a couple of days, but the pain you are experiencing begs the question, how long after a car accident should you see a chiropractor?

In this article, we’ll steer you in the right direction by exploring when, why, and how many times you should see a chiropractor after a car accident.

Table of Contents

How Long Should You Wait To See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

Some people experience pain, tension, and muscle spasms right away, but others might not have any symptoms immediately after the accident. In many cases, symptoms may worsen in the days or weeks following the accident.

According to Dr. Tim Gallucci, DC, the ideal window to see a chiropractor is within the first week or two after a car accident.

It’s important to seek medical treatment soon after the car crash because the longer you wait, the more likely you may develop chronic pain, making it more difficult to reverse your symptoms. 

Early intervention is critical in determining the severity of injury and developing treatment plans that can speed recovery and lower your risk of long-term complications.

Premier Care Chiropractic provides a comprehensive personalized treatment that can quickly help you get back to living life. To learn more about accident treatment, schedule an appointment today.

When Is It Too Soon To See a Chiropractor?

A car accident can be exceptionally stressful physically and mentally.

Sudden stress can trigger biochemical reactions in your body, releasing adrenaline and endorphins that activate a fight-or-flight response. These hormones put your body on high alert, and you may experience:

  • Faster heartbeat
  • Increased oxygen flow to major muscle groups
  • Sharpened hearing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Reduction of pain perception

Your post-accident pain could be partially or fully masked due to the adrenaline rush following your crash. It may take days for the full extent of pain from your injuries to unveil itself.

So, how long after a car accident should you wait to see a chiropractor?

The best thing you can do is contact a Portland car accident chiropractor and ask when treatment is appropriate.

In general, if your injury just happened, it’s best to wait at least 48 hours before seeking chiropractic treatment, as your muscles need a chance to relax and heal so your spine’s alignment can return to normal.

6 Reasons To See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident

#1: Get Early Diagnosis of Hidden Injuries

Just because you can’t see an injury doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

One study focused on the symptoms after whiplash trauma found that one in three people who were exposed to whiplash trauma became at risk of developing delayed temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms.

TMJ symptoms from car accidents can be delayed because the initial trauma of the accident can damage blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues without causing any visible damage. As the tissues degenerate, the symptoms then become apparent.

Chiropractors are trained to look for and diagnose hidden injuries that could be causing you pain. Some common hidden injuries may include:

  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries such as stretched muscles, torn ligaments, and sprains
  • Concussions
  • Spinal misalignments
how long to see a chiropractor after car accident

#2: Speed Up Recovery

Massage therapy performed by chiropractors may help speed up your recovery.

Chiropractic massage stimulates the blood vessels, muscle and tendon tissue, and nerve cells and may:

  • Reduce stiffness
  • Decrease inflammation and swelling in the soft tissues
  • Improve tissue elasticity and increase the range of motion of joints
  • Influence blood flow in the muscles, which can decrease pain
  • Increase endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine hormones that also help decrease pain, regulate sleep and mood, and promote relaxation

In a study that included 104 participants with lower back pain, over 40% of the patients experienced long-term, meaningful improvements in their back pain after a series of massage treatments.

Other research investigated outcomes in patients with acute or chronic low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment. Patients reported improvement in as little as one week after initial treatment. In addition, they were four to five times more likely to be significantly improved at three months after chiropractic treatment.

#3: Discourage Future Issues With Chronic Pain

If you struggle with chronic pain, you know that it can be brutal.

Chronic pain can range from mild to severe, and it can continue day to day or come and go. It interferes with your daily life and can take a toll on your emotions.

A chiropractor can help alleviate current chronic pain and prevent future issues with chronic pain. 

The spine and nervous system play an important role in overall health. If your spine isn’t properly aligned, it can cause a wide range of chronic pain problems, including:

  • Migraines
  • Back or shoulder pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neck pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Knee and hip pain

Research shows that chronic pain sufferers trust chiropractors to help identify and treat spinal misalignments that may be causing pain like yours. One study provided empirical insight into why some chronic pain patients utilize chiropractic care regularly. 

Results found that chiropractic care for patients with chronic low back pain or neck pain was associated with significant improvement after three months, and high levels of patient satisfaction with chiropractic treatment were consistently reported.

#4: Receive Natural, Drug-Free Pain Management

Chiropractic care is considered holistic because it focuses on the body as a whole and not just on isolated symptoms or conditions.

Chiropractors take a drug-free approach to pain management and the treatment of chronic and acute conditions. While medications can temporarily relieve pain, they often come with numerous drawbacks, including:

  • Side effects
  • Dependency and addiction
  • Masking underlying issues
  • Temporary relief
  • Tolerance
  • Long-term effects

You have a busy life you need to get back to — work, kids, managing your household — resorting to narcotics to withstand the pain is not a sustainable plan.

Chiropractors use a variety of treatment modalities to help the body heal itself and return to a pain-free and healthy life for the long haul. Some evidence-based practices of chiropractic treatment include:

  • Massage and soft tissue mobilization: Massage therapy combined with holistic chiropractic methods is used to promote spine and nervous system health. Treatment of the soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascia) creates beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal and circulatory systems.
  • Therapeutic ultrasound: Deep heat therapy created by sound waves can help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
  • Therapeutic exercise: Specific chiropractic strengthening exercises can help decrease pain, prevent muscle deterioration, promote joint health, increase strength, stability, and range of motion, and protect against new or recurring injuries.
  • Acupuncture: Complementing chiropractic care to stimulate muscles and nerves, acupuncture needles are gently inserted into the skin to rest and promote increased circulation to the area, helping to alleviate discomfort and pain.
  • Spinal traction: Devices are applied to the spine to help separate the vertebrae resulting in disc decompression, reduced nerve root pressure, and less pain.
  • Dietary management: The recommendation of anti-inflammatory diets rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins can improve joint health and support the body’s natural healing processes.
  • Lifestyle changes: Chiropractors recommend lifestyle changes that can positively impact your back health, including exercise, posture correction, stress management, proper nutrition, and ergonomic adjustments to alleviate discomfort, improve mobility, and enhance your overall spinal health.
  • Heat and cold: Alternation between heat and ice therapy can restore blood flow to the area and promote faster healing.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): A small, portable muscle stimulation machine is used to help control pain with variable intensities of electric current.
  • Interferential current (IFC): For sensitive patients, high-frequency electrical impulses can be used to help reduce pain deep within a patient’s tissue.

#5: Decrease Symptoms Associated With Injury

Shooting leg pain from sciatica, insanity-inducing headaches from whiplash — the symptoms associated with your injury can seem unbearable. 

You can grit your teeth and bear with the pain to see if the injury resolves itself, or you can be proactive by speeding along your recovery and managing pain through chiropractic therapy.

According to a Gallup poll, most Americans believe chiropractic care is an effective way to treat back and neck pain. In fact, more than 33 million adults in the U.S. have seen a chiropractor in the last 12 months, and twice as many say a chiropractor would be their first choice to see for neck or back pain if they had it.

how long to see a chiropractor after car accident

#6: Have Injury Documentation for Insurance Claims

Get the process started sooner rather than later.

Meet with a qualified car accident chiropractor to begin treatment and start compiling all pertinent documentation from the accident. Examples of essential paperwork may include:

  • A detailed police report
  • Photographs of the incident
  • Comprehensive accounts of any injuries sustained
  • Detailed records of treatments received
  • Progress notes from the attending chiropractor

Including robust evidence will support your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance claims.

PIP insurance exists to cover expenses incurred due to injuries sustained in a car accident and is included automatically as part of all auto insurance policies for Oregon residents.

PIP insurance covers:

  • The vehicle driver
  • The vehicle passengers
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists

Using your personal injury protection does not impact your insurance coverage or rates.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, schedule a consultation with our Portland chiropractic clinic today. Treatment is completely covered by your PIP insurance, so there are no out-of-pocket costs for the patients at Premier Care.

How Many Times Should You See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

Your chiropractic treatment plan and the frequency of your visits depend on:

  • The severity of your injury
  • Your overall health
  • How well you respond to treatment

After your first visit, your chiropractor may recommend at least one follow-up visit to determine that nothing else has become apparent as your body begins the healing process.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many times you should see a chiropractor after a car accident. It all comes down to when you feel well again after treatment.

how long to see a chiropractor after car accident

Navigate the Road to Recovery After a Car Accident With the Help of Premier Care Chiropractic

If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s imperative you seek medical treatment to determine the severity of injury and develop treatment plans that can aid speedy recovery.

Premier Care Chiropractic in Portland takes the time to thoroughly examine and find every issue causing you pain and comfort.

Our auto accident chiropractors will begin with a consultation and physical exam to help identify the cause of your symptoms. The exam may include:

  • Range-of-motion evaluation
  • Posture and gait assessment
  • Orthopedic testing

We believe that each patient suffering from injuries due to a car crash can benefit from a personalized holistic treatment plan that might include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy

Dr. Tim Gallucci, DC, and his colleagues respect your time, lifestyle, and goals. Our mission is to help you feel better as quickly as possible. To start the process of getting back to living your life, call the office to schedule or book an appointment online today.

The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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