It happens without warning. One minute you are driving along, and the next you are in a motor vehicle accident.
Whether it is a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, you could be left with pain and discomfort. Seeking care right away can make a major difference in your recovery and reduce the chances of long-term health problems. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe, effective way to treat your health concerns and optimize your well-being after an automobile accident.
Common injuries after an accident
There are a variety of injuries that can occur after a motor vehicle accident. Some injuries and symptoms may appear immediately, others may take hours or sometimes days to appear. Being in an auto accident is not something to take lightly.
Below are common injuries that can occur.
Low Velocity Injuries- Usually occur when you are driving under 10 mph, or if you are hit by another vehicle that is traveling 10 mph or less. These injuries usually cause muscle strain or seat belt bruises. Other symptoms may be delayed, but pain and stiffness may occur within 12-36 hours after the impact.
High Velocity Injuries- These injuries are sustained when your vehicle or another vehicle is traveling over 10mph. Often times, injuries usually result from the body hitting objects in the car, such as the dashboard, window or the steering wheel. Common problems resulting from this kind of impact include head, shoulder or knee trauma; a variety of contusions, wrist fractures, neck sprains and concussions.
Traumatic Cervical Syndrome (Whiplash) - This type of injury occurs when the neck is forced into rapid movements faster than what your bones, ligaments and muscles can accommodate. This injury is usually referred to as whiplash, which is a non-medical term for a strain or a sprain of the neck caused by sudden movement. Even a seemingly minor accident can cause soft-tissue and musculo-skeletal injuries such as whiplash.
Whiplash symptoms include:
-Neck pain or stiffness
-Pain in your shoulders or arms
Other symptoms can include memory loss, poor concentration, nervousness and irritability, sleeplessness or fatigue.
Growing evidence suggests that whiplash injuries are more common and take longer to detect than previously thought. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded in a 2008 report that “whiplash neck sprain is the most frequently reported crash injury in U.S. insurance claims and that these injuries can occur in even minor traffic accidents of less than 20 mph.”
The Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) reported in 2008 that British automobile insurance companies receive more than 1,200 whiplash claims per day and that 75% of all personal injury claims related to motor vehicle accidents involve whipash claims. Recent studies have suggested that many whiplash injuries do not show up for years after an accident. In 2009, a Japanese study using longitudinal MRI found that degenerative changes were detected in the cervical spine of patients even ten years after whiplash injuries, who had no overt physical symptoms during this time.
It is important to seek care promptly for any injuries and symptoms immediately after an accident. It may be a difficult decision to choose the right form of care to address your pain and discomfort. But it is an important decision to make in order to keep current injuries from becoming chronic. The good news is that you have choices. Depending on the type of injury, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy and acupuncture are the most commonly used treatment modalities. It is also common for patients to combine different modalities for faster results and to be able to address different aspects of an injury.
How acupuncture can help
Acupuncture and TCM has the ability to successfully aid in the healing of soft-tissue injuries, relaxing the muscles, relieving painful symptoms, helping your body regain its natural balance and vitality as well as alleviating any stress and anxiety.
Chinese Medical Theory - A fundamental statement from Chinese Medical Theory states, “If there is free-flow, there is no pain; if there is no free-flow, there is pain.” Based on this theory, facilitating the circulation and flow of blood and Qi (pronounced “chee”) will eliminate pain and restore balance.
According to acupuncture and TCM, Qi is the life or vital energy that animates and strengthens the body. Qi flows through pathways called meridians and pushes blood to all of the body’s organs, tissues, muscles, and tendons to provide nourishment so they can function optimally and respond to normal wear and tear.
In an accident, you may experience physical trauma that disrupts and restricts the flow of Qi and blood leading to pain, stiffness and a host of other problems. Acupuncture activates your body’s self-healing and self-regulating capacities, helping to bring greater circulation to the area that is being treated and functions like a magnet for improved blood flow. Through acupuncture, a consistent flow of blood is restored, returning the muscle to a normal state of relaxation, flexibility and reduced pain.
What to expect
During your visit, your acupuncturist will take an extensive medical health history and will ask questions about your motor vehicle accident. A physical exam may include checking your pulse, examining your tongue and palpating tender areas on your body. All of this information is useful to make a complete and comprehensive diagnosis in order to determine the best treatment plan. Once the imbalances of Qi are detected, Your acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints along meridian pathways. This safe and painless insertion of the needles can unblock the obstruction and re-balance the flow of Qi, to facilitate the body to reach optimal functioning.
Other therapies may also be suggested such as: herbs, massage, self-care, diet and exercise. These are designed to soothe your symptoms, calm your mind, reduce anxiety and support you throughout the healing process.
Acupuncture and TCM provide a natural and effective way to help you regain your health and well-being after a motor vehicle accident. It is a powerful and ancient health care modality that can restore your body’s balance and harmony, heal the injured area and return you to pain-free living.