Car Accident Recovery Guide

Dr. George Gertnerblog


Countless individuals worldwide set out on their daily journeys, confident they’ll reach their destination safely, but unforeseen circumstances can disrupt these plans. One of the most common and distressing occurrences is a car accident. Lives can be altered in mere moments, and a path to recovery can seem daunting.

The aftermath of such an event can be overwhelming. It’s often filled with physical pain, uncertainty, aftercare and countless questions. You are not alone, and there is hope to heal and regain control of your life.

How Car Accidents Cause Back Pain

Car accidents subject the body to forces it’s not naturally equipped to handle. The sudden and violent deceleration or impact can lead to various back injuries. Here are some of the primary post-car accident symptoms:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a well-known injury when the head is forcefully jerked back and forth. This can strain the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Compression injuries: The impact force can compress the spine, leading to fractures or herniated discs. These injuries can result in acute or chronic back pain, depending on severity.
  • Twisting and bending: During a car accident, the body may twist or bend unnaturally, causing strain on the muscles, ligaments and back discs. This can lead to sprains and strains, which often result in pain.

Back pain can also lead to secondary symptoms, such as neck or shoulder pain. 

Statistics on Back Pain After Car Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of back pain and related injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 42,795 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in a single year. Thirty-one percent of people involved in a motor vehicle collision will have acute injury within a year of the accident. They have found that 63% of people with lower back pain are from a motor-accident incident. Medically consulted injuries in motor-vehicle incidents totaled $5.4 million in 2021.

Back pain may not always manifest immediately after an accident. Delayed onset is typical due to adrenaline masking pain, and symptoms may become apparent in the hours or days following the incident. Symptom severity may also fluctuate over time, especially if the condition worsens or an injury is aggravated. 

Recovery and Treatment Options

Getting medical care after a car accident with related back pain varies depending on the nature and severity of the injury. You should seek prompt medical attention, as early intervention can significantly improve outcomes.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Medical evaluation: A health care provider will conduct a thorough assessment, which may include imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans to assess the extent of the injury.
  • Pain management: Medications may be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation, and physical therapy and chiropractic care can help alleviate discomfort.
  • Rest and lifestyle modification: Rest is often a critical component of recovery — avoiding activities that exacerbate pain and adopting proper ergonomics can help you heal faster.
  • Exercise and rehabilitation: Physical therapy exercises and stretches are essential for restoring strength and flexibility in the back. Your health care provider will recommend activities tailored to your specific condition.
  • Support from professionals: Seek support from professionals such as physical therapists, chiropractors and pain management specialists who specialize in treating car accident-related injuries.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Getting car accident chiropractic care is a valuable and holistic approach to alleviating back pain and facilitating recovery after an auto accident. A chiropractor will focus on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, recognizing that proper spinal alignment is crucial for overall health and healing. Here’s how chiropractic care can potentially assist you in your post-car accident recovery:

  • Assessment and diagnosis: A skilled chiropractor will thoroughly assess your spine and overall musculoskeletal system to identify misalignments, subluxations and areas of tension or inflammation.
  • Individualized treatment plan: The chiropractor will create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs and condition based on their findings. 
  • Spinal adjustments: Chiropractors use gentle and controlled manual adjustments to realign the spine with pressure that slowly relieves the affected nerves. These adjustments are precise and noninvasive, aiming to restore proper function and alleviate pain.
  • Improved spinal health: Chiropractic care can promote better spinal health, reduce inflammation and enhance the body’s natural healing processes by correcting misalignments and subluxations.
  • Pain management: Chiropractic care provides a drug-free alternative for managing pain. Rather than relying solely on medications, it addresses the root causes of pain and discomfort.

Benefits of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care, particularly upper cervical chiropractic care, offers a holistic approach to treating auto injuries, providing a range of benefits that can significantly aid in your recovery process. Here’s why you should consider the advantages of this natural and drug-free treatment:

  • Holistic approach: Rather than pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach, upper cervical chiropractic care addresses your individual health and wellness needs. 
  • Drug-free and noninvasive: Chiropractic care provides a drug-free alternative to managing pain and promoting healing. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who may not respond well to medications or prefer to avoid them due to potential side effects.
  • Noninvasive techniques: Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are gentle and noninvasive. They don’t involve surgery or pharmaceutical interventions, making them a safe and natural choice for many patients.
  • Pain relief and injury recovery: Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments can effectively alleviate pain associated with auto injuries, including back pain, neck pain and headaches. Chiropractic care promotes the body’s natural healing mechanisms by restoring proper spinal alignment. It can expedite the recovery process and reduce the risk of chronic pain.
  • Improved range of motion: Auto injuries often result in a limited range of motion. Chiropractic adjustments can help improve joint mobility and flexibility, helping you regain normal function more quickly.

Schedule an Appointment with Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York, PC

Navigating the road to recovery after a car accident can be challenging, but it’s a journey that can lead to a brighter and pain-free future. We’ve highlighted the benefits of chiropractic care, particularly the specialized approach offered by Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York, PC, led by Dr. George Gertner and his expert team. 

This unique approach seeks to correct spinal misalignment at its source through gentle and precise adjustments, focusing on the top atlas of the spine. This may help alleviate pain, improve mobility and increase the patient’s overall well-being.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery journey, contact Upper Cervical Chiropractic of New York, PC. Our upper cervical chiropractic care expertise can be valuable to your overall healing plan, and we’re ready to answer any questions you may have about the process.