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How Chiropractic Decompression Helps Back Pain After an Auto Accident

Physiotherapist giving back massage to a patient in clinic
A minor auto accident that causes you to jar or twist your back can result in back pain. While you may think your back discomfort will go away quickly since the accident wasn't serious, what you may find instead is that your back pain gets worse.
Pain from this type of back injury is often caused by spinal compression, and chiropractic treatments might help. Here is an overview of spinal compression and why spinal adjustments are beneficial.

Your Spine Is a Bundle of Nerves

Your spine is composed of a bundle of nerves that run from your neck down to your hip area. These nerves play a vital role in transmitting information between your brain and the rest of your body. The nerves are protected by vertebrae, which are a series of individual bones with openings between them so nerves can connect to your various muscles.
The bones are padded with cartilage discs that absorb shock so you can bend, twist, and jump without pain. When you're in an auto accident, a blow to the back, sudden jarring, or quick twisting movement of your spine can cause one of the nerves to become compressed.
That means pressure is put on the nerve that results in pain. The pressure could be from a vertebra that is fractured or out of alignment, a ruptured disc, or swelling of tissues in the area.

Compressed Nerves Cause a Variety of Symptoms

While back pain and stiffness are common symptoms of a compressed nerve, you can experience other symptoms that you might not associate with a spinal problem. When a certain nerve is affected, you might have numbness in your arms, hand weakness, and problems with dexterity.
A different nerve compression could cause numbness in your foot and burning pain in your leg. A more serious form of nerve compression could even affect your ability to control your bladder and bowels.
You might notice some of these symptoms, such as pain, right after the accident, but when the compression is made worse by swelling that crowds the nerve, your symptoms might be worse hours later. That's why you should see your chiropractor for an evaluation soon after you've had an injury that affects your back.

Spinal Adjustments Relieve Pressure on the Nerve

Chiropractic treatments help because they relieve pressure on the nerve, and that leads to pain relief. You may need several adjustments during your recovery period before you see lasting effects because your body needs time to heal itself after the injury by mending tissue and resolving swelling.
Decompression treatments can take various forms. You might be positioned in a specific way on a table so your spine is stretched and pressure relieved from the compressed nerve. Gentle pressure or quick movements may be applied to your spine as well to guide it back into its proper alignment.
When your spine is aligned as it should be, the pressure is taken off your nerve from a vertebra or disc that is slightly out of place.

Chiropractic Treatments Help With Healing

While decompression treatments aim to take pressure off the affected nerve, your chiropractor my give additional treatments to help heal your injury. Depending on your individual situation, your chiropractor might teach you stretching movements to do at home or strengthening exercises to help stabilize your back.
If tissues around the spine are affected, hot therapy might help for pain and cold therapy might help for swelling. You might even benefit from massage treatments that increase circulation to the injured area. The major benefit of chiropractic care is that it is a natural treatment of the cause of your back pain and not merely something that treats the symptom of pain.
If you've been in an auto accident, visit Corner Chiropractic Center for an evaluation and treatment of your spine. Your chiropractic care will be customized to your situation so you get the treatments you need to heal the cause of your pain.