You might think that it will never happen to you, but in Washington state alone there were over 100,000 motor vehicle collisions in 2015 according to the Washington State Department of Transport https://www.wsdot.wa.gov and that is only ones reported. Benton county accounted for over 3,000 of those and over 1/3 of the motor vehicle accidents that were recorded in Benton Country happened in Kennewick! So, the chances of you receiving an injury from a motor vehicle accident are actually higher than you might imagine.
Many of the injuries received result in relatively minor neck and spinal injuries, often the result of whiplash. This is the common term used to describe the tearing or pulling of your neck tendons or muscles when your head is suddenly forced forwards and backwards – like when your moving vehicle is suddenly stopped by a collision.
One of the very common symptoms of whiplash is a headache, ranging from a mild but constant nagging pain at the base of your skull to debilitating pain that immobilizes your head. One thing that people may not realize that these symptoms may not happen immediately. Sometimes there may actually be several days before the pain appears. However, you are wise to have yourself checked over for any signs of more serious injury as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, people will often take pain medication and just hope for the best. However, if not treated you can cause further strain to your neck, which of course means that you will be aggravating the injury and not reducing your pain level. You may be able to help yourself at home by applying an ice pack as soon as possible to reduce any swelling. But if the pain persists you need to consult your medical practitioner to confirm that you do not have something more serious, including concussion or fractures.
The possibility of fractures is one of the reasons for ensuring that you do not allow anyone to ‘manipulate’ your spine unless they are trained and qualified. A licensed chiropractor is often able to help with whiplash and injury or pain relief following an accident, however a good chiropractor will offer a consultation and examination before any attempt to help. Consulting a website like https://nwspinalrehab.com will offer some insight into what services should be offered and what to look for from a chiropractor following any form of motor vehicle accident or suspected whiplash.
Your chiropractor should also be able to assist you with the insurance paperwork that will help get your treatment covered, but this is another reason not to delay seeking attention.
What Does A Chiropractor Do?
Although chiropractors are incredibly knowledgeable with anatomy and physiology, including abnormal, it is a practice that is often considered to be ‘alternative’ or ‘complimentary’ medicine. Part of the reason for this label is that chiropractors want to get to the root cause of your pain and help relieve it. They don’t want to simply mask the symptoms, but actually try and either fix your problem or try to find ways to make it more manageable. Whether this is done through spinal manipulation or through suggesting lifestyle changes (or both) will depend on the type of pain or injury that you are suffering from. https://www.chirohealth.org/page/What_Is_Chiropractic
Other than injuries from vehicle accidents, chiropractors are commonly called upon to help with sports injuries – which can range from injured shoulders and dislocated fingers, to general body aches and fatigue, alongside strengthening and rehabilitation.
Why A Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is NOT a medical doctor; however, they are medical specialists who have undergone extensive training to be able to treat problems related to your nervous system and musculoskeletal system. Often people will think of spine manipulation, but chiropractic treatment is more than just this.
Chiropractors will often work with other healthcare professionals in order to ensure proper treatment of any problems they believe a patient suffers from. Treatment may include massage or skeletal manipulation, but it may also be simply advice on how to correct your posture when you are standing so that your hips are balanced or instructing you to use a wrist brace to reduce RSI symptoms.
Chiropractors undergo extensive education (see here). Beyond the standard high school diploma, they start their training with an undergraduate degree with a focus on sciences. From there is a 3-5 year Doctor of Chiropractic degree which focuses on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology and public health. Part of this degree includes practical clinical and lab work giving chiropractic students practical experience in spinal adjustments and manipulations as well as orthopedics and diagnosis.
Licensing in Benton County
Study is only the beginning. Once they have graduated from a Doctorate program from a college that has been approved by the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission (CQAC) the prospective Chiropractor must apply for a license to practice. They have to pass a four stage exam that is administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), as well as prove that they have had at least 4,000 hours in approved classroom time. The exam includes a practical component which helps ensure that patients are receiving the highest quality of care.
Each year chiropractors much renew their license, which includes that they have completed at least 25 hours of professional development education.
Choosing a Chiropractor
Although many chiropractors operate as sole practitioners, others work from clinics that combine the services of both general and specialist chiropractors as well as other medical and health practitioners in order to provide complimentary and holistic treatment.
In your initial consultation you can ask where they were trained and licensed, and if they have any specialty.
Each state has slightly different legislation and requirements for practicing chiropractic. Washington is considered to be “restrictive” which means chiropractors may be prohibited from using certain forms of physiotherapy, are unable to offer nutritional advice or provide patients with vitamin supplements and may limit the use of x-ray for spinal misalignments.
Above all you should feel safe with your chiropractor. They should be professional and knowledgeable but they should also listen to you and respond constructively.