“I was involved in an automobile accident but I wasn’t hurt.”
Or were you hurt but just don’t know it yet?
Whether the accident happened yesterday or years ago you may have sustained an injury without even knowing. In high speed accidents, serious bodily injury is obvious, but what about in cases of low speed fender benders? What if there was only minimal vehicle damage or none at all?
Typically in these accidents we are a little shaken up afterwards, experience some minor aches and pains, if at all, that subside after a few days of rest, ice and taking it easy. Can there be underlying issues lurking that we are not even aware of? Absolutely, many times it is in cases like these that people are hurt but don’t know it until later because their symptoms either have not manifested yet or were minor and short lasting.
Anyone that has ever watched NASCAR is aware that when there is an accident the car pretty much disintegrates. This is not by chance, but by design.
The car is meant to absorb most of the forces from impact to minimize the amount of force the driver’s body is exposed too. Of course at those high speeds, the driver is going to absorb some force but it is much less than it would have been if it were not for the design of the car.
By the car crumbling around the driver, most of the impact is absorbed into the frame of the vehicle.
But my car had no damage.
At slower rates of speeds the vehicle may have minimal or no damage as all. In these cases all of the forces are absorbed by the occupants. Research shows that it does not take much force to elicit bodily damage.
I hear it all the time from patients: “I was involved in an accident years ago but I wasn’t hurt and my car wasn’t even damaged.” Actually, they may have been injured during the accident but the symptoms didn’t appear until much later and now they are in our office looking for help.
All previous accidents whether they turn out to be a contributing factor or not, need to be considered to determine if they are related to their current condition.
But I don’t have any pain.
The absence of symptoms doesn’t mean we are healthy.
Many times symptoms do not appear until after a patient’s health is significantly compromised.
Think of dental cavities, many times we don’t even know we have them until it is found on x-ray during a routine examination. Pain is a poor predictor of health.
Some people are very unhealthy but do not exhibit any symptoms, at least initially. For example, most people that suffer from heart disease don’t know it unless they have their blood pressure checked or have an EKG.
In some instances, they didn’t know until they had a heart attack!
It can be similar with car accidents, symptoms may not appear for days, weeks or even years after the accident. It is best to get evaluated especially before agreeing to any settlement with the insurance companies. They are aware that symptoms can take time to appear, so the quicker they settle with you the better for them. It is best to protect your best interests and have a chiropractic evaluation to determine if there are any undiagnosed underlying issues.
As previously mentioned, many times, people only experience minor aches and pains after minor accidents which subside after a few days or weeks.
Most people will attribute it to being jostled during the accident. After applying ice or taking pain pills they forget about it and go on with their life. Unfortunately most people don’t consider the impact the accident might have had on their spinal health. Underlying subluxations may be present.
The body will do what it has to do to compensate for these subluxations to keep us out of pain or at least minimize our pain for as long as possible, but there will come a time when we cannot compensate as effectively and then the pain will return or begin for the the first time.
So what causes our body to not be able to compensate as well?
There are many factors, but a few are stress, fatigue, sickness, lack of physical activity, other traumas from falls, contact sports, etc. Also, the natural aging process.
We are all aware that as we age the speed at which we heal slows down. Thankfully we continue to heal, it just takes a little bit longer and we may need some help to do so in some cases.
In our younger years we seem to heal over night, not so much as we progress through the journey of life.
It’s best to get checked.
Anyone who has been involved in an accident should be evaluated by a chiropractor, whether pain is experienced or not. If the trauma caused any subluxations, they should be treated.
A thorough evaluation will determine if there was any damage caused by the accident and any underlying problems that may have not expressed themselves with symptoms yet.
A simple examination may help prevent you from having health issues in the future that were precipitated from a past accident.