What Causes Back problems

What Happens to My Body During a Car Accident?

Nov 8, 2019

When I ask patients if they have been involved in any motor vehicle accidents there is often some similar replies. They will either give me a laundry list of all of their accidents (just what I want); say none at all; or say ‘only minor ones’.

My question is “what is a minor car accident?”

Their reply “I was stationary” or “I wasn’t going very fast.”

However, if there was some form of motion involved, there is a transfer of energy into your body. Think of it this way:

If you were to run your fastest 100m dash and all of a sudden you were stopped – say by a brick wall, or someone physically tackled you, could you be hurt? And say you ran the 100m in 12 seconds – pretty fast. To translate that speed, that is a speed of 30km/h. However when you are in the can it seems slow. Even at that perceived slow speed, coming to a grinding, sudden halt will involve injury at a micro fibre level in your body.

Your body wasn’t designed to deal with the forces that occur in a car accident. Even though modern cars have an array of safety features, the damage from an accident can range from small aches to life-changing injuries. The force that both your vehicle and body absorb while driving along the road is known as kinetic energy. Your vehicle has been carefully built to displace the (kinetic) energy that occurs during an accident. However, no matter what type of car you have, your body will still absorb some of the impact.

The powerful forces during impact can cause injuries to your body. A few of the most common injuries that occur after a crash include:

  • Whiplash: when your car is rear-ended, your neck gets thrown back from the impact and then rebounds by flexing forward. Whiplash commonly injures the tendons and ligaments in your neck and can cause severe pain, and it’s estimated to occur in over 25% of auto accidents.
  • Head Impact: your head may collide with the headrest (during whiplash) or even the steering wheel or airbag. Concussions, headaches, and other symptoms may show up after an accident.
  • Shoulder and Knee Injuries: Bracing for an accident can often cause a shoulder injury. It’s also not uncommon for your knees to hit either the door or dashboard during an accident.

If you’ve been in an automobile accident, the most crucial first step is to be evaluated by a medical professional. At the scene of the crash, your adrenaline is pumping, and you may not feel any pain or discomfort because of a state of shock. However, many people wake up the next day, experiencing the full brunt of their injuries. You will need to get checked and evaluated by your Chatswood chiropractor. Pain and symptoms can surface years later as a result of these injuries. At this point it takes longer and is more costly to take care of. We would be happy to provide a full evaluation and help you take the first steps on the road to recovery.

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