At ChiroCare of Florida, we perform accident and injury chiropractic for patients who require treatment. Whether you're in a car accident, suffer an injury on the job, have a slip and fall, or any other incident that results in bodily harm, we're here to help you recover. There are many types of injuries our chiropractors treat, one of the most common being blunt force trauma resulting from car crashes. But what is blunt force trauma precisely? How can you recognize the signs and know when it's time to seek professional treatment? As experienced injury chiropractors, we're here to help you learn everything you need to know.
If you suffer an injury following a car accident, time is of the essence. You must seek medical attention right away. Have emergency responders evaluate you at the scene of the accident, visit the emergency room, an urgent care center, or your primary care physician as soon as possible to ensure the best chance of total recovery. Then, determine if seeing an injury chiropractor is right for you.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects blunt force trauma can have on your body, what happens to your bones due to the impact of a car accident, and how ChiroCare of Florida can help.
What Is Blunt Force Trauma?
Blunt force trauma occurs when your body collides with an object that has a firm surface. Medical professionals also refer to this type of injury as "non-penetrating trauma," as the skin often remains intact. However, you may suffer from lacerations as well in some scenarios.
These types of injuries are particularly common in car accidents, sporting injuries, assaults, falls, or direct blows such as those from swinging objects. However, car accidents account for the majority of blunt force trauma injuries. More than 75% of blunt force trauma incidents occur as the result of car accidents. They're a leading cause of disability and death in those under the age of 35.
The results of blunt force trauma to the body can include extensive bruising, tenderness, and pain. More severe effects can also occur, such as bone breaks, fractures, internal hemorrhaging, and even brain damage. Those with blunt force trauma often notice contusions, abrasions, pain with movement, swelling, or a loss of motion in the affected area. Since the symptoms and resulting problems can be varied and non-specified, it's crucial to see a medical professional immediately to receive a proper diagnosis.
The most common areas affected by blunt force trauma include the stomach, chest, skull, face, neck, extremities, and pelvis. Doctors will either classify the injury as high- or low-risk upon evaluation. High-risk blunt force trauma can lead to traumatic brain injuries and internal bleeding, requiring a hospital stay and often invasive life-saving treatment. Low-risk injuries, where the patient does not exhibit abdominal tenderness, is not intoxicated, and has a regular pulse rate and blood pressure, are more likely to receive clearance to return home to manage symptoms.
Often, a course of injury treatment with a chiropractor can help you to recover more quickly following low-risk blunt force trauma. Injury chiropractors can also help you restore range of motion in the area, reduce pain, and improve other symptoms following your accident.
What Happens to Your Bones after a Trauma-Related Accident?
When your body sustains a significant impact, such as from an airbag, steering wheel, back of a headrest, or projectile object in the car, your soft tissue is often the first to receive the brunt of the force. Soft tissue includes muscle, tendons, ligaments, and subcutaneous fat that protects your bones. However, since blunt force trauma is so abrupt and robust, your bones also become impacted.
Breaks and fractures are among the most common injuries related to blunt force trauma. However, there are additional bone conditions to be aware of, such as a misalignment of the spine and joint dislocation.
Patients often suffer spine misalignments due to the severe impact of blunt force trauma. Bone misalignments in the spine can ultimately cause damage to the discs between each vertebra, pinched nerves, chronic pain, and more. They occur when part of your spine moves out of the proper position.
You may also hear this condition referred to as a "subluxation." The injury can cause pain at the spot of direct trauma and surrounding areas, making it difficult to pinpoint the specific location of misalignment. An injury chiropractor will evaluate you to determine the vertebrae suffering from the misalignment and any additional soft tissue injuries you may have. Common types of spinal misalignment include whiplash, damage to the cervical or lumbar spine, and vertebrae rotation or forced curvature.
You may struggle with chronic symptoms if you leave a spinal misalignment or subluxation untreated. These can include frequent headaches, dizziness, pain, excessive tiredness, numbness and tingling in the extremities, poor posture, walking abnormalities, stiffness and pain upon standing up or rising from bed, and more.
When you suffer a joint dislocation due to trauma, such as in the shoulder or knee, you'll likely experience pain and tenderness in the area and loss of motion in the affected extremity. The pain will often worsen with movement, though it may always be present. In the case of a dislocation, two bones that meet at a joint become misaligned or disconnected. Other common areas of dislocation include the elbows, ankles, hips, and jaw.
Joint dislocations frequently occur in high-speed contact incidents. During car accidents, this can happen if your knee jams into the steering wheel, if your arms or shoulder receive impact from the side door, and more. Without treatment, you may experience total loss of movement in the joint and cause permanent damage to the surrounding blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments.
Never try to fix a joint dislocation by yourself. You may be tempted to "pop" the bones back into place yourself, but this can cause more extensive and lasting damage. Instead, the best route is to seek care from an accident and injury chiropractor to realign the joint properly.
When to See an Injury Chiropractor and How They Can Help
You should always seek medical evaluation for blunt force trauma as soon as possible following the injury. Once your physician clears you to return home, ask them about seeing an injury chiropractor to help with the recovery process. Often, the more quickly you begin treatment, the better.
An accident and injury chiropractor will help develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your unique injury. Therapies may include manual adjustments, physical therapy, and more. Your chiropractor will also likely provide you with a list of light stretches, exercises, or movements you can complete at home in-between visits to help maintain your recovery rate.
Recovery from a blunt force trauma injury takes time. Your chiropractor will lay out a plan with multiple visits over weeks or months. After your injury heals, they may recommend maintenance visits to help the damaged area remain in proper alignment. Additionally, seeing an injury chiropractor can help you restore range of motion and mobility, lessen pain, and help you get back to daily life more quickly.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you or a loved one are currently struggling with pain resulting from blunt force trauma following a car accident, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to schedule an appointment. With nine convenient locations throughout South Florida, extended evening hours, and weekend appointments available upon request, you can be on the road to recovery in no time.
We have experienced accident and injury chiropractors on staff to properly evaluate the site of blunt force trauma, identify spine misalignments and dislocated joints, and develop customized treatment plans. Don't wait. Call today at (877) 388-2165.