By Jay Jurasevich
The aftermath of an auto accident can be difficult to deal with. Thankfully, easily accessible services such as acupuncture are available, and they can make the ordeal significantly more manageable.
In all fairness, acupuncture is probably not the first thing you think of when you’re trying to come up with a way to treat your accident-related injuries. As you’ll see throughout this article, though, there are real reasons to seek it out.
Even if you’ve never been involved in a car accident before, it’s wise to learn about this form of treatment now.
Consider this: Around 20 to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries from car accidents each year, according to the World Health Organization. Being cautious on the road will help keep you safe, but you can’t guarantee that everyone around you will be similarly careful.
Now is a good time to learn more about how to properly address injuries that stem from car accidents and why acupuncture is a form of treatment you should keep in mind.
How Being in a Car Accident Can Impact Your Body
The injuries you sustain from a car accident can be varied.
If it’s a particularly bad incident, you could bruise some of your internal organs following the collision. Soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful.
You may also sustain some scrapes and minor burns. It’s also possible that you may have broken some bones because of the accident.
The head and neck area are particularly vulnerable during an accident.
When a powerful force hits your car and unnaturally jolts your body, your head could move back and forth violently as a result. That may not sound like a big deal at first, but that forceful movement could lead to issues.
Often, it leads to an injury known as whiplash.
What Is Whiplash?
We’ve already described the kind of motion that leads to whiplash. The Mayo Clinic notes that it’s a motion that is like the cracking of a whip.
People can sustain this injury due to playing sports, falling, or due to some form of physical altercation resulting from a fight or previous abuse. More often than not, though, the people who suffer from whiplash have it because they were recently involved in an automobile accident.
As noted previously, whiplash can appear when your head and neck move back and forth rapidly after another car hits your vehicle. That kind of unnatural movement is bad for the structure of your body.
When your body moves that way, you overextend the muscles and ligaments in your neck, which is problematic. When these muscles and ligaments extend beyond their limitations, it causes damage.
The Unusual Qualities of Whiplash
There are two unusual qualities of whiplash that you should know if you want to handle it properly.
First off, this is not an injury that will always rear its ugly head right away. Typically, the symptoms of the injury will start to emerge within the first 24 hours after your involvement in an accident, but that’s not always the case. Some symptoms may not register until days after.
Because of how whiplash-related injuries manifest themselves, you must be vigilant. Don’t assume that nothing’s wrong because you feel fine right after the accident. Continue to monitor yourself closely or go to the doctor if you want to know the current condition of your body right away.
The other unusual quality of whiplash is that the way people recover from it is not always consistent.
If you’re lucky, the effects of the injury will affect you for a few days but then disappear completely.
It’s not that easy for other folks.
They could end up dealing with the injury for well over three months. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the effects of whiplash could last for years. The Cleveland Clinic notes that around 12 to 50 percent of people who have whiplash could continue to feel its effects for more than a year.
Speaking of those effects…
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
According to Healthline, the symptoms of whiplash differ in terms of how common they are.
The most common symptoms include neck pain or stiffness, manifesting itself in that part of the body. You may also have a hard time completing some easy tasks due to blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches caused by whiplash.
The symptoms of whiplash only get more serious, from there.
Whiplash can affect your ability to concentrate. You may find it hard to focus, and your memory may also fail you at times.
Sleeping may become a greater challenge, and you may also experience bouts of irritability.
Those symptoms are all unpleasant, but they are not the worst of it.
If the injury is severe, the pain you previously only experienced in your head and neck may migrate to your extremities. Doctors may force you to immobilize your head because moving it causes a significant amount of pain.
How do You Treat Whiplash?
The symptoms of whiplash can interfere with your day-to-day life, even if they are minor. It’s in your best interest to treat your injury as soon as possible.
When it comes to whiplash, varied treatment options are on the table.
A common form of treatment for whiplash involves combining both medication and physical therapy.
Your doctor may prescribe some aspirin, painkillers, or muscle relaxants. Your physical therapy regimen will involve exercises involving the neck. They may ask you to move your neck and shoulders in different ways to restore your range of motion.
Additional items that would alleviate your discomfort include hot and cold packs to loosen the muscles in your neck. Meanwhile, they may provide a foam collar to stabilize that part of your body.
There are still more treatment options for you to consider.
Massage may help with injury, and the same goes for chiropractic treatment. Another form of treatment involves stimulating the nerves in your neck using electric currents.
Acupuncture is also worth a try.
You’ve probably heard about acupuncture before and know it’s a treatment that involves needles in the body. That’s obviously an over-simplification of acupuncture, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, acupuncture is a practice derived from traditional Chinese medicine. They base it on the idea of Qi or the flow of energy inside the human body.
The practitioners of acupuncture believe that spread throughout the body are numerous points linked by pathways. These pathways handle the proper flow of our energy.
When energy is not moving how it should throughout your body, that may be because you are ill or injured. It could also make you more susceptible to illness or injury.
The needles the practitioners use hit certain points in your body. Once they hit those points, they will then restore the proper flow of energy.
Will You Experience Pain from Acupuncture?
Since needles are involved, it’s only natural to wonder if an acupuncture session will be painful. After all, some people are so afraid of needles that they try to avoid injections whenever possible.
Depending on how the practitioner approaches the session, they may even heat some of the needles.
The sensations of pain do not last long. Once you finish the session, you may feel more relaxed or energized.
Why Acupuncture Is an Effective Treatment for Your Accident-Related Injuries
We’ve already established that whiplash is one of the injuries you may sustain in the aftermath of being involved in an auto accident. We’ve also determined that among the most common symptoms of whiplash are headaches and neck pain.
Now that we know these things, we can better understand why acupuncture is a type of treatment you should consider if you are battling the lingering effects of the accident.
The UC San Diego School of Medicine looked at several case-controlled clinical studies and identified some of the symptoms and conditions that you can treat with acupuncture.
Notably, headaches and neck pain are among the listed symptoms. Given that those two are quite common in people suffering from whiplash, it sure seems like acupuncture is worth a try.
Much of this article has focused on the auto accident-related injuries that affect the head and neck area. Truthfully though, your injuries will not be only to those parts of your body.
There’s also a chance that you could injure your lower back because of the powerful impact. You also could have strained some of your joints because of what happened.
Acupuncture will work for those additional injuries.
Further research has determined that you can sleep better following acupuncture treatment. Coincidentally, difficulty sleeping is another symptom of whiplash.
Is Acupuncture Preferable to Other Forms of Treatment?
You should consult with your doctor before attempting to treat your accident-related injuries. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture, go ahead and ask if that is right for you.
Once the doctor gives you the green light, you can try to find a reputable practitioner.
But why should you choose acupuncture over the other treatment methods? The case for acupuncture boils down to its ability to improve your condition in different ways.
Compared to some of the other treatment methods, acupuncture can address more issues simultaneously. Hot and cold treatment may relieve pain, but it may not do much for your headaches and insomnia.
The relaxing benefits of acupuncture are worth highlighting as well.
As long as your doctor signs off on you trying different treatment methods for your injuries, you can lean on your preference to make the final decision. In pursuit of multi-faceted relief, acupuncture certainly stands out as a worthy option.
How often Will You Need Acupuncture Sessions?
There is no one answer to this question. Your condition could improve after a single session, or your symptoms may persist even after multiple visits.
The best way to handle this is to consult with the practitioner you’re working with and develop a plan that works for you.
One more important thing to note here is that these sessions can be time-consuming. A single session can last somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes.
It’s a good idea to clear your schedule for the day you receive treatment as you may want to relax more after the session.
How Can You Tell if You’re Working with a Professional Acupuncturist?
The practice of acupuncture is more prevalent in the United States today, but it’s still difficult to describe it as commonplace. If you want to find a reputable acupuncturist, try asking your doctor if he/she can recommend anyone.
Failing that, you can also go to an acupuncturist and see if he/she has the proper credentials. Acupuncturists must first be licensed before they can start practicing this form of treatment.
To find out if an acupuncturist is licensed, check if he/she has a license posted in his/her place of practice. According to the California Acupuncture Board, they must always display their license at all times.
You can also consult with the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture since they could provide you with a list of doctors who practice this treatment.
Auto accident injuries can have a profound impact on your quality of life. The things you could do before may suddenly be difficult to perform because of your injuries.
Seeking treatment is a must in that scenario, and acupuncture can help. Acupuncture may address the physical problems you’ve been dealing with.
As for your legal troubles, you can leave that to us at the Quirk Law Group. Contact us today and find out we can help.