Archive for March, 2010

Car Accidents Cause Low Back Pain

Although neck pain is more commonly experienced after a car accident, low back pain hurts more!  The low back being nestled in the seat and supported by the back rest, is, as most think, less often hurt after an impact, but the contrary is true for its suffering.  Here’s how.

Most commonly, one is stopped then struck on the rear behind by another vehicle during an accident.  Driver and passengers in the stopped vehicle usually do not see or hear the approaching vehicle until impact.  Being able to see ahead, the striking vehicle’s passengers can prepare for impact and brace themselves.  The trunk moves backward into the back rest of the seat, then forward onto the shoulder harness which braises the chest wall and twists the trunk.  The shoulder harness causes more irritation than the seat belt, because the pelvis is better stabilized on its bottom being firmly planted onto the seat cushion.

The muscles that rotate the trunk become injured which initiated a reflex making the muscles that extend and hold the trunk erect to become excessively tight, too.  The resulting muscle spasm effects the middle back through pelvis because the muscles that hold us erectly start in the rib cage and run down to the top of the hip bone right below the belt.  This instinctual reaction, known as muscle spasm, prevents the trunk from moving as it should and it compresses the low back spinal nerves sometimes causing pain which radiates into the legs.  The backward movement of the trunk from the impact rapidly stretches the muscles in the FRONT of the low back, the abdominal and psoas muscles. This prevents us from standing erectly after getting out of the car or sitting for periods of time.  The shoulders compensate for the forward bending while standing by pulling backward which adds even more muscle tightness and pain.

The low back muscles, front and back, are quite large so they drain more energy from the body than neck muscle spasm.  The excessive muscle tightness takes large amounts of nutrients from the blood which decreases the nutrient and energy supply to the organs.  All of us know how draining pain is, additionally, this produces sluggish digestion, fatigue and restless sleep.  Adhesions are excess repair fibers that form in really tight muscles as early as two days after the onset of spasm!  Treating oneself with bed rest and pain killers only compounds the deleterious effects of the spasm and its resulting adhesion formation, because each are left unabated. When lots of adhesions form in muscles from waiting too long to receive therapy after an accident, it becomes more difficult to reduce the spasm, thereafter.  Careful manipulation, massage and physical therapy, which I render, should be started immediately after a car accident.

Do not try stretching on your own or have it rendered by a therapist, because it will irritate the spasm.  Soft-tissue (massage) and physical therapy work best in the initial phase of therapy.  Chiropractic neurologists are well-qualified to treat such conditions not only because of the nerve involvement, but because we have substantial training and experience in massage, physical and manipulative therapies.

Read more at “Health Information” under “Low Back Pain”

Car Accidents Produce Neck Pain

The most common car accident is one where a stopped vehicle is struck from behind by another.  The resulting jolt, which may not produce much damage to the vehicles because of improved bumper technology, often causes neck pain to the persons in the stopped vehicle more than the striking vehicle.  The people in the striking vehicle see the impact about to occur and can brace themselves before impact which reduces their injuries.  Whereby, the people in the stopped vehicle, who have no idea an accident is about to occur, only have the body’s natural defenses for protection.

For the driver and passengers waiting at a traffic-light or stop-sign, the movement of the head backward at impact produces most of the neck pain from spinal bone compression.  A thin muscle in the front of the neck, one we can see in the mirror if we widen the mouth and say out-loud “EE”, named the platysma, contracts to prevent traumatic compression of the bones in the spine at impact.  Although it is thin, the muscle spans the bottom of the jaw and runs down to the top of the collar bones, it contracts rapidly and involuntarily to prevent the head from whipping backward excessively when the striking vehicle hits.  This instinctual reaction prevents the head from moving backward so much that it tears the muscles in the front of the neck, but results in the pinching of nerves that exit in the back of the neck.  The compression of the spinal bones results in muscle spasm and pain.

The muscle spasm, immediately, restricts the motion of the neck and decreases the blood supply to the head.  When left untreated for a little as two days, spasm can cause excess repair fibers to accumulate in the muscles resulting in headaches, light-headedness, total-body fatigue and nausea.  More sever accidents can pinch nerves which shoot pain into the shoulder and arm.  After as little as one month of this untreated irritation weakness and muscle atrophy of the arm results.  One can see muscle atrophy, which is the result of chronic nerve irritation to the arm, by comparing the thickness and tone of the muscles between the thumb and index finger, known as the web of the hand, while viewing the back of the hand.

Spasm is when muscles attempt to protect their underlying joints and become tighter than usual.   The adhesions that result from untreated spasm can only be removed with careful manipulation and physical therapy of the muscles followed by stretching done by a qualified practitioner.  Stretching by a doctor, therapist or oneself should NOT be performed until the spasm is relieved, adhesions broken, range-of-motion restored and specific stretching maneuvers demonstrated.

Chiropractic neurology lends itself well to treating such conditions because of all the nerve involvement and we often do.

Read more about this and other related topics this link which is the “Health Information” link at

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