The sun and brisk temperatures were creating the atmosphere for a beautiful fall morning. It was only about half past 8, but Sarah was cycling through her to do list for the day. She had just dropped her 6 year old son off at school, and traffic was still a little heavy from the morning rush. Her 3 year old son, John, and 10 month old daughter, Mary, were quietly sitting in the back seat.  Mentally she starts running through the days activities.

Drop off Luke? Check. Running to the grocery store? Check. Stop by the bank? Check. Meet the girls at the park by 10? Check. Lunch and nap time? Check.

Her list was cut short though, when she pops over a hill to completely stopped traffic. Sarah quickly applies the brakes creating a sudden stop force in the car. As her eyes glance in the rear view mirror to make sure the kids are ok, she  begins to witness the large truck behind her struggling to stop in time. To her horror, she braces for impact and within a second the truck barrels into the back of her car. Even though the truck had slowed down considerably and only hit them going  about 15 mph, she immediately hops out of the car to check to see if her kids are injured. Mary immediately begins to cry, but it takes a wide eyed John a second to break down. Sarah picks up her baby girl to soothe her and starts asking John if he is hurt anywhere. He just shakes his head, and Mary slowly begins to calm down in the comforting embrace of her mother. Everyone definitely received a scare that day, but no one seemed to be injured….Right?

Although stiffness and soreness related to car accidents may occur, these short term symptoms will often fade within a few days. Once your body “feels” like it’s back to normal, many people figure they don’t need any bodily attention. This premise is just not true. Here is a list of the most common injuries related to car accidents.

Whiplash- This is caused by a sudden force that causes your neck to be moved or stretched beyond its normal range and motion.  According to Clearwater Chiropractic, “A speed of fifteen miles per hour can produce the energy to cause whiplash in the occupants of the car (with or without seat belts).”

Back and Shoulder Injuries- With the force inflicted and the twisting that ensues on the body, back and shoulder injuries can come in the form of strains and sprains, fractures and disc injuries, as well as thoracic and lumbar spinal injuries. The symptoms of these injuries will often not appear until sometime down the road even if it is a severe injury which may create long lasting pain and distress.

Lower Back Pain- This form of injury during a car accident is one of the largest forms of chronic back pain. Whether tensed or not, the force inflicted during a collision can tear soft tissues in the lower back and even have enough force to shatter bones. Whether a four car pile-up or a small fender bender, lower back injuries can be inflicted.

Seatbelt Injuries- Although they save lives, seatbelts can still be the cause of misalignment in the ribs and vertebrae. This can lead to further pinched nervous in those areas in addition to general pain and discomfort.

Facial Injuries- Many things within a car can cause injury to the face including the airbag, steering wheel, side window, dashboard, windshield, and car seats. These injuries can range from small cuts and bruises to lacerations and fractures. Even jaw injuries as severe as Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ) and serious dental injuries.

After learning about the effects of even small car accidents, Sarah decides to go see her chiropractor for a spinal evaluation. While there, she relates her story to the chiropractor who then asks, “Well how are John and Mary?” “Oh they’re ok,” Sarah assures. The chiropractor then begins to ask if her children are showing any symptoms which are not exclusive to but may include a suddenness to irritability, trouble sleeping, poor feeding and restlessness in the infant Mary, and restricted range in motion, neck pain, fatigue, or a change of posture in the toddler John. Children do not always know how to express their pains and hurts which causes their injuries to go untreated. Spinal injuries can be inflicted on kids that do not seem to even show up for months or years after a car accident. Did you also know injuries can be imposed even when there isn’t a car collision? Research has found that sudden swerves, stops, or fast turns can cause injuries to children as well. The morale of the story is when you are in any car accident all occupants within the vehicle should be checked by your chiropractor for any possibly injuries. It is always better to be safe than sorry.