Muscle Ache and Pain Treatment after a Car Accident
Muscle aches and pains are one of the first symptoms to appear after a car accident. The pain can start immediately after an accident, or even a occur a few days later.
Why do muscles ache after a car accident?
There are two main reasons why you have muscle pain after a car accident.
The first reason is because the muscle fibers have been overstretched and inflammation and swelling develop. This is just like what happens when you twist an ankle. The ligaments become stretched and swelling occurs.
When the inflammation and swelling builds up, it begins to irritate the nerves that surround the muscle. Sometimes the swelling takes a few days to build up, which is why symptoms sometimes take several days to appear.
Once the nerves become irritated, this sends a signal to the brain to protect the area around the damaged muscle. The way the body protects the damaged area is to have the muscles contract and immobilize the area. So not only are the muscle tissues damaged themselves, the constant inflammation and irritation causes them to continually tighten up and spasm.
The second way that muscle aches and pain can start after a car accident is when the muscle is damaged by a counterforce. This is seen when you see the accident about to happen and brace the muscles in your body.
This is similar to if you were holding out your arm and someone tried to push down on it. If you do not resist, the muscles relax and your arm comes down pain free. However, if you resisted and your arm was pulled down, the contracted muscles become damaged by the heavier counterforce.
This type of muscle injury is commonly seen in the neck, shoulders and arms of the driver in a car accident that braces the steering wheel.
Treatment for Muscle Aches and Pain After a Car Accident
Advanced Deep Tissue Laser Therapy - The laser therapy used at Art of Health Chiropractic is the most powerful in any Nashville Chiropractic office.
Laser therapy works to reduce swelling and inflammation (which will reduce pain and muscle spasms) and to help the damaged muscle heal more quickly.
By healing the muscle quickly, there is less chance of improper scar tissue formation on the damaged tissues - which means significantly less chance of re-injuring the area later in life.
Therapeutic Exercises - Rehabilitation of the damaged muscles is managed by treating in three phases - restoring motion, restoring endurance, and restoring strength.
Even though muscle pain is something that seems like will "just go away" a muscle that is not correctly rehabilitated can cause more problems in the future.
When muscle begins to start healing, scar tissue is laid down in the areas that were damaged. The scar tissue that fills in the areas is just like the scar tissue on the outside of your body. If you have an old scar on your body, you can see that it does not line up the same way the skin does and can have an irregular shape. If the scar tissue does this in the muscles, it sets those areas in the muscle up for failure down the road.
Restoring motion in damaged muscles consists of very simple range of motion exercises that you will perform with the doctor. As you move in a pain free area, the newly forming scar tissue begins to line up along the same lines of stress as your muscles.
Increasing the endurance of the damaged muscle is accomplished by adding repetitions to your movements and training the muscle groups in the ways that they will be used by you in your day to day life.
Increasing strength in the damaged muscle helps to solidify the properly formed scar tissue and allows your muscle groups to function better as a unit - giving you a better prognosis for the future.
Home Therapy (updated 2/1/17)
In our experience, as much as treatment at your doctor of choice helps in your successful rehabilitation, there will still be some things you can do at home to assist your body in healing while you're not at your doctor's office getting treatment.
Below are a few of our favorite topical muscle pain relievers, myofascial tools, and natural muscle relaxers.
Ice and Heat Pack - Pain Relief Ice Pack with Strap for Hot & Cold Therapy - Reusable Gel Pack for Injuries | Best as Heat Wrap or Cold Pack for Back, Waist, Shoulder, Neck, Ankle, Calves and Hip (Large pack: 14" X 6")
Great Ice/Heat pack that can be used anywhere on the body. We recommend ice for the first 24-48 hours and then heat to relax muscle spasms thereafter.
Muscle Pain Relief - Outback Pain Relief - Natural Topical Oil - 50mL Roll On (1.69 fl oz)
Of all the topical muscle pain relievers we have tried on ourselves and our patients - this seems to work the best, without offending your sinuses! After initial application, most patients have felt relief after a few minutes. The ingredients are simple and effective.
Once the acute inflammatory stage has subsided and the muscle spasms have reduced, you will most likely be left with some tight and knotty muscle tissue.
The foam roller works great for tight backs, and larger parts of the body like hamstrings, glutes, and the quads.
GuaSha - 7" Bian Stone Gua Sha Scraping Massage Tool, Great Heavy Stone Guasha Board for ASTYM,Graston & Myofascial Release, Reduce Muscles Soreness,Relax Joints & Trigger Point Treatment,Easy to Grip.
For muscle pain in areas that are hard to reach with a foam roller, our go to is the Gua Sha tool.
This tool (along with some kind of lubricating lotion, oil, or cream) allows you to work tight tissue virtually anywhere on the body and is especially great for shoulders, around the knees, and forearms.
Natural Muscle Relaxer - Dee Cee Labs Formula 303 Pain Relieve Natural Muscle Relaxant, 90 Tablets
We only carry a few supplements at the office consistently, and this is one we have had since the beginning.
With a mixture of valerian, passion flower, and magnesium - the Dee Cee Labs 303 tablets are a wonderful all-natural muscle spasm reliever.
We have had patients use these tablets for everything from post car accident muscle spasms, insomnia, sciatic pain, and even menstrual pain.
TheraBand for Rehab - TheraBand Professional Latex Resistance Bands For Upper Body, Lower Body, and Core Exercise, Physical Therapy, Lower Pilates, At-Home Workouts, and Rehab, Yellow & Red & Green, Beginner Set
Once you are out of pain, rehabbing the injured tissues is very important. The bands above are the same type we use in office every day.
Dr. Michael Buczynski at Art of Health Chiropractic in Nashville, TN has treated over 1100 auto accident patients over the past two years. He has worked with patients exhibiting symptoms such as whiplash, headaches, wrist and shoulder sprains, disk bulges, hip and knee pain, numbness, tingling, back pain, and more.
Call the office at (615)953-7544 to schedule your appointment today.