You know the sound of “popping” or “cracking” your neck and back, but do you actually know what that really is? Many people tend to “pop” or “crack” their neck and back now and again when something feels out of place or uncomfortable. However, there are actually situations where popping or cracking your own neck and back can cause more harm than good. Chiropractors provide a proper and therapeutic environment where they can safely address pain or tension in your neck. If you were recently in a car accident, you may be looking for treatment for whiplash. Here’s what you need to know if neck popping is one of your symptoms after a car accident.
Causes of Neck Popping
Whether you call it cracking or popping, they both refer to the experience when vertebrae in the spine are slightly out of place and make a sound due to certain movements. Popping can occur in many joints, including shoulders, elbows, knuckles, and even toes. If you notice neck popping after a car accident, this may be a sign of something more serious going on. There are several causes of neck popping that lead to that sound you think of and the relief you may feel afterward. The joints make a popping sound due to the fluid that naturally lubricates each joint called synovial fluid. This fluid contains gases like nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and when the joint moves certain ways, it can create gas bubbles and then cause them to pop, making the sound you expect. However, with an acute injury suffered in situations like a car accident, the popping noise may be a result of a neck injury.
How a Car Accident Can Affect Your Neck
Even what seems like a minor car accident can actually negatively affect your neck. That’s because your head and neck are unrestrained while you are in a vehicle and that means they are more susceptible to injury. When a car accident occurs, your head and neck can get shaken up with the force of impact. In car accidents like a fender-bender or rear-end collision, it is common for the head and neck to snap forward and backward violently with the jolt upon impact. This can put a significant amount of pressure on the spine in your neck and end up causing you harm. The muscles and supportive tissues that surround your neck and spine may also be impacted by strains and tears. A car accident can easily disrupt your spine’s healthy alignment and an injury to the spine can lead to symptoms like neck pain, soreness, stiffness, and neck popping. If you start to notice neck popping after a car accident that you didn’t use to experience, then you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms right away.
Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash
Car accident doctors will tell you that the most common car accident injury they treat each day is whiplash. This injury is more common than others because vehicles aren’t able to have safety features in place to support the head and neck like they do the trunk of your body. Whiplash can also cause back and shoulder pain as well, so some people may go to the doctor after a car accident and not even realize they have whiplash. Doctors will perform a physical exam of your neck to assess how the accident has affected your spine, muscles, and neck structure. They may also want to use diagnostic imaging tools like an X-ray or CT scan to rule out other injuries and get a clearer look at the injury. Your diagnosis will help inform the plan of treatment for whiplash and will be individualized to your specific whiplash symptoms and healthcare needs.
Treatment for whiplash can include a variety of techniques, including chiropractic care, physical therapy, and at-home remedies. A car accident chiropractor can work with you and use natural, effective treatments like chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic massage. If your whiplash injury affects your range of motion then a physical therapist can help you to regain your strength and mobility. Your doctor may also recommend at-home remedies to help soothe your pain symptoms.
Visit an Atlanta chiropractor at AICA Orthopedics to learn more about how you could benefit from treatment for whiplash after a car accident.