The car is an irreplaceable part in today's life, and the car accidents are also unavoidable. Neck injuries are the most common in car accidents. The most serious are spinal cord injury, or neck bone damage, which are both life-threatening and require immediate emergency rescue. However, in most cases, neck injuries caused by car accidents are not life-threatening and therefore often are not given enough attention. If the treatment is not timely or improper, these injuries can greatly affect the patients’ life.
Neck pain and discomfort
The pain in the neck and shoulders can last for several years, sometimes more than ten years, even a lifetime. In the event of a car accident, if the collide is from the front to the back, the neck will swing forward or backward like a whip because of the weight of the head. In this sudden movement, the entire neck components, including muscles, ligaments, intervertebral joints and other tissues, are subjected to intense and rapid over-stretching. In addition the swing happens in an instant that many people do even feel or know what happened. Such swing may cause serious damage to the spinal cord, neck bone fractures, head injuries, chest compressions, cardiopulmonary injuries, etc.. Lighter conditions also often cause neck damage. If the impact comes from the side, the situation will be more complicated and serious because the side muscles of the neck are weaker.
After a car accident, a small number of people will immediately develop severe pain, and their neck activities are severely limited. Most people’s pain become more and more obvious after a few hours in a car accident, a few days later, or even weeks or months later. Symptoms mainly include: neck pain, limited mobility, shoulder pain, upper back pain, stiff and swollen muscles from the neck to the upper back to the shoulders, and the pain points are widely distributed. Most are also accompanied by headache on the front, back or sides of the head, and neck pain. The patient's sleep can be severely affected, regardless of the kinds of pillow used. There may be heavy upper limbs, muscle pain, numb hands, weak grip, low energy, poor mood, and even depression, and anxiety.
One case: There is a female patient who came to seek treatment two years after the accident. She is suffering from neck pain, upper back pain and lower back pain. Her neck to waist muscles are also stiff and swollen. The pain is very noticeable, and even touching the skin in certain area causes pain. In addition she also has symptoms such as poor sleep, low energy, constipation, frequent urination, dry skin, bad mood, and heavy pulse. She has seen physiotherapists, orthodontists, acupuncturists, etc., the effect is not obvious.
This case is typical car-accident-related neck and back pain, which in turn leads to depression, or extremely unbearable muscle fiber pain. In TCM we believe that this is a complex symptom of kidney deficiency, blood clotting, and qi stagnation.
Headache is one of the main conditions associated with neck injury. It often manifests as a posterior headache, which in turn develops into pain at the front of the temple area. In addition, the headache that spreads from the back to the side of the head and above the ears is also a common symptom after a car accident.
Another case: Recently, a male patient was diagnosed with neck pain, headache, and dizziness after six months of a car accident. He also wore a neck brace when he came to visit me. His symptoms are: obvious headache, high blood pressure, stiff neck that his head cannot easily move. If he forces to move head around, the pain is serious. His face is swollen and flushed too. His sleep is disrupted to 30 mins intervals due to the pain even after taking pain-killers on a daily basis.
There are many other possible problems, such as dizziness, palpitations, anxiety, weakness, depression, etc.. From my clinical experience, traditional acupuncture has the best the effect in dealing with these problems. In addition, I hope everyone can seek medical treatment in time after a car accident, so it is much more easier to choose the best treatment plan.