This is a very common question from my patients following any type of trauma, but especially with car accident's The whiplash and trauma that happen during a car accident create damage to the neck, and this damage can create what is called "radiating pain". If your neck was damaged following a car accident and it is creating radiating headaches, this is referred to as a "cervicogenic headache". Cervicogenic headaches are headaches where the pain originates in the neck and cervical spine. It is medically defined as pain which is present in the head but originates in cervical spine region. Neck pain and headache often occur together.
There are nearly 20 muscles in the neck which, if hurt, can refer pain to the head. The neck is one of the most vulnerable parts of human body, and if any of these 20 muscles in the neck are strained, the throbbing sensations can reach up to the head causing severe headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, throbbing pain, pain behind the eyes, photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to sounds) etc. The pain can vary from mild to severe in different people. The headache can get worse by frequent and abrupt neck and head movements.
Treating Cervicogenic Headaches:
Lets talk about a few methods of treating and getting rid of cervicogenic headaches so that the problem no longer bothers us and we can get back to our normal life as quickly as possible.
1. Medication - Seeing your primary care physician can be a good idea no matter what when you are in a car accident, but especially if you are having a cervicogenic headache. Your doc can give you some medications that can dull and even take away the pain for a short time.
2. Massage - Gentle stretching exercises and neck massage can be really helpful in alleviating the pain caused by cervicogenic headaches. The muscles near the base of the skull may be strained and massage can help in soothing these muscles. Massage therapy can provide you the greatest relief in short period of time, allowing you to return to your work quickly.
3. Posture improvement - Maintaining a poor posture for a long period of time can lead to cervical joint stiffness, which in turn can lead to cervicogenic headaches. Whiplash injuries primary area of insult is to the overall structure and alignment of the neck, and this is why chiropractic is so important following these types of injuries as this is what chiropractors treat. It is important to correct your posture.
Apart from the above mentioned treatment methods, you need to take sufficient rest. There are also several exercises to strengthen neck muscles that your chiropractor will give you to create long lasting relief. Doing such exercises regularly can be beneficial in getting rid of cervicogenic headaches as well as preventing them from re-occurring in future.
If you have been in a car accident and are suffering from headaches please consult the advise of your chiropractor as they will be able to help guide you out of pain.
Have you been involved in a car accident? Do you want to get back to the gym or just build up your fitness? Most injuries caused by car crashes affect the neck, back, or shoulders. Some may increase your risk of developing early onset osteoarthritis, chronic pain and other complications. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, there are various exercises you can do for muscle and strength gains.
Here are a few simple ways to build up your fitness after a car accident:
Take It Easy
Whether you're a pro athlete or a beginner, allow your body to heal before returning to your training routine. Increase workout intensity and volume gradually, engage in low impact activities, and watch for any warning signs. Cycling and swimming are recommended to those who had muscle strains. After a joint sprain, focus on rehabilitation and work out your non-injured areas. Incorporate new exercises every week. If you’ve had bone fractures, work with a physiotherapist.
Focus on Larger Muscles
Compound exercises, such as the squat, lunges, deadlifts, and shoulder press, are a better choice than isolation moves - at least for those with recent injuries. For example, you can start with exercises that target larger muscles like your chest and quads. Use machines only. As you progress, use stabilizer exercises to strengthen smaller muscles. Warm up properly before working out. Cool down after exercise. Warming up and cooling down may help reduce injuries and improve blood flow to your muscles.
Focus on Recovery
Proper recovery is just as important as training. Stretching, massage, foam rolling, and physiotherapy can help rebuild your strength. These techniques support muscle repair, increase your range of motion, and keep your bones flexible. In addition to your regular workouts, spend at last 30 minutes a day stretching your muscles. Get a massage at least three times a week to speed up healing.
Car Accidents: 98,820
Car Accident Injuries: 45,209
Car Accident Fatalities: 454
These are obviously numbers for the entire state of Washington, but we must deduce that the majority of these number are centered around Seattle, and Bellevue.
Video motion x-ray is a vital piece of the diagnostic process here at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We use it to determine where a patients injury's have occurred and how severe they might be. This is hands down the best way to determine if there has been any tearing in the ligaments of the spine which is an extremely common finding in car accident victims.
Below is a fantastic example of a video motion x-ray.
Did you know that 20% of car accidents occur in parking lots? This should not surprise me, because if you have ever been to Costco on a Saturday, that parking lot is a zoo! This is a really good video on how to avoid a parking lot car crash, and if you are in one, what to do.
This is a very common thing for me to hear from a patient who was injured in a car accident. Pain down the leg can possibly be something called sciatica.
Sciatica is a term referring to severe pain in the leg. It is often accompanied by numbness, weakness and tingling sensation originating in the lower back and traveling downwards through the buttock. These sensations travel through the large sciatic nerve present in the back of the leg.
The most common cause of sciatica and back pain following a car accident is the sheer force that the seat belt places on the lower back and the associated nerves. When involved in a car crash, your seat belt anchors your hips down to your seat, and the forces of being hit cause the area directly above the seat belt to move forward. This creates a sheering force across the fifth and last bone in the back and all of the nerves associated with it. On top of this sheering force the resultant injury causes the body to spasm and this pinches all of the nerves around the spasm in the muscles
Sciatic pain can be very severe and can be felt in the lower back region, buttocks, and various parts of leg and foot. People suffering from sciatica will find it difficult to walk, or even get up from bed.
Some of the common symptoms of sciatica are:
1. Tingling or burning sensation in the leg
2. Weakness in the leg or foot, difficulty in movements
3. Sharp pain that may make it difficult to get up or walk
4. Pain in one side of the buttock or in one leg
There are 2 cases though in which immediate medical attention has to be sought:
1. Progressive weakness in leg
2. Urinary or bowel incontinence
People with the above symptoms may have cauda equina syndrome and should to directly to the emergency room.
Treatment for Sciatica:
Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem such as herniated disc. In order to treat sciatica, the underlying problem has to be determined. There are various ways to treat sciatica. Surgery is only required in severe cases, otherwise this problem can be treated with non-surgical treatment methods.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be extremely helpful with sciatic pain. In fact it is one of the things that we specialize in here at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. Back exercises, stretching exercises, healthy diet, and massage can also be extremely helpful in eliminating sciatica. There are numerous natural and home remedies to ease the suffering. Here are a few things you can try:
1. Taking turmeric daily can help in reducing some of the nagging pain because of the anti-inflammatory agents in tumeric.
2. You can apply winter green oil to the affected leg for relieving the muscle pain.
3. You should not be still for extended periods of time. You have to keep moving, but not too fast to aggravate the pain. When you sit or lie down for a long time, the muscles will tighten, thus increasing the pain.
If you are suffering with sciatica since your car accident, please give us a call at 425-635-0495. We would love to see if you are a candidate for the type of care that we deliver for car accident victims.
Every car accident doctor is very different in their approach to treating your spine and body. This is a good thing because not every body was created the exact same and they all differ in how they respond to care. The following are things that I tell my family to look for when looking for a car accident doctor out of state and what you should be looking for in a doctor of chiropractic.
1. Do they have a technique (how they treat you) that is best for your body? Again, remember what I stated above. Not all chiropractors do things the same way and not all ways will work for your individual body. So how do you know? First off if you are queasy AT ALL about the "snap, crackle, pop" that comes from a hands on treatment, then that is not right for you, and you need a more like the Proadjuster or the activator. Next, if you have ever received a "deep tissue" massage and been worse afterwards then a heavier chiropractic treatment is not for you. If you are looking for a call Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your health concerns.
2. Do they have a way of analyzing your ENTIRE body? Yes, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. It is important to assess you as a whole, because we are one big connected chain. Something in your feet could potentially cause back pain. Something in your shoulders could give you head aches. So, ask if they have a way to assess your feet such as digital scans of the foot, do they have ways to look at your arms and shoulders? Now it may not be necessary to do all of these tests on every person, but it is important that they have the ability to.
3. Does the chiropractor continue his education above and beyond the "required" hours to renew their license? The health care field is changing on a daily basis. New research is coming out all the time, and if every chiropractor does not stay up to date on what is new then they are not giving their patients the best care available. Every chiropractor in the United States has to have a certain number of continuing education each year. What I have found is that this amount is far less than what is necessary to keep up to date.
4. Do they do rehabilitation or prescribe exercises? This is a vital component to getting better. I tell my patients all the time "I can put you back together all day long, but until your muscles can hold you there you are going to have ongoing problems". This does not have to be complex, but it does have to be a part of getting you better.
Each of these things are vital when looking for someone to trust your health and well being with following a car accident. If you live in Washington state, give us a call today and we would be glad to see if we can help you with your injuries. If you live out of state, give us a call and we can help you find someone close by who might be able to assist you in getting better.
photo credit: Cast Aluminum Doctor with Stethoscope (New Kensington, PA) via photopin (license)
As you might have read from some of our blog posts about what to do after being involved in a car accident, one of the first steps to take is to call 911 to let them know that there was an accident. If you have never been involved in a car accident though calling 911 for this reason may be completely foreign. Below is an excellent video that was done by a 911 operator explaining exactly how that call will probably go.
Recently I had a patient who had been involved in a car accident ask if the x-rays that we were taking of her neck were safe. I wanted to give a brief summary on what the current FDA statements on x-ray safety are and give you a couple resources where you can read more.The FDA estimates that the radiation from a chest ray is roughly equivalent to the background radiation you are exposed to in 10 days on this planet Earth.
The first consideration is that there is no difference between a chiropractic x-ray and any other type of x-ray. While some x-ray machines do vary by brand, what really matters is the part of your body being x-rayed. Different body tissues absorb radiation in different ways.
To give the public a way of monitoring their radiation exposure across many different sources, the FDA uses whats called an effective dosage scale. Each kind of x-ray has an effective dosage associated with it measured in millisieverts (mSv). Since millisieverts isn't a unit of measure most people are familiar with (like a mile or a teaspoon), having a reference value helps put the numbers in context. The FDA estimates that the average person is exposed to 3.0 millisieverts of radiation per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic rays. That's what allows them to state that a 0.1 millisievert dosage from a chest x-ray is equivalent to about 10 days of background radiation exposure.
Compared to a chest x-ray, x-rays of the extremities (arms and legs) have a much lower effective dosage and x-rays of the lower torso have a higher effective dosage. Recall that the effective dosage comes mainly from the body part being imaged not the intensity or duration of the x-ray machine pulse. Here's a summary of effective dosages and background radiation equivalents for the various types of x-rays a chiropractor is likely to recommend:
• Extremities - 0.001 mSv – similar to 3 hours background radiation
• Chest - 0.1 mSv - similar to 10 days background radiation
• Spine - 1.5 mSv - similar to 6 months background radiation
The FDA states on its own website "Don't refuse an X-ray. The risk of not having a needed X-ray is greater than the small risk of radiation."
The FDA website and the excellent radiologyinfo.org website from the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America both point out that disease risks from radiation exposure are cumulative across time and that patients play a critical role in tracking their own exposure levels. Since you may be working with multiple health care providers in different specialty areas, you should keep a log of your exposures. Here is a link to a site where you can download a personal Patient Medical Imaging Record: http://imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
Note that this article refers to effective exposures and recommendations for adults. If you are pregnant or looking for x-ray safety information for children, visit imagegently.org
Consumer Updates Reducing Radiation from Medical X rays. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from FDA.gov: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm
Patient Safety X ray and CT. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from Radiologyinfo.org: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty_xray
Radiology Risks Benefits for Patients Image Wisely Image Wisely. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from ImageWisely.org: http://imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
Car accidents are becoming an avoidable epidemic. This infographic shows the effects that these accidents can have.
Dr. Michael Weir is the clinic director at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We will also be hosting a variety of relevant guest bloggers to help you understand your injuries better.