As most everyone knows, one of the most common injuries from an auto accident is to the neck. We often call this a Whiplash Injury or a cervical sprain strain. Because auto accidents are one of our specialties in our Roseville Chiropractic Clinic we literally see new patients with these injuries daily.
What you may not know about car accidents and neck injuries is an injury called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is felt as numbness, tingling, pain, or decreased circulation in the shoulders, arms, or hands. The thoracic outlet is a narrow pathway where an important bundle of nerves and blood vessels travels between the head and arm.
The space is very susceptible to injury when the head and neck experience rapid acceleration and deceleration like occurs in a car accident (and also with many contact sports like football, soccer, basketball and volleyball) Whenthe neck experiences this rapid movement and quick deceleration it can cause inflammation of the muscles in the area which can compress the nerves and result in symptoms.
Because the neck is complex, it can be tricky to pinpointing the exact source of your pain. Other conditions like bulging discs, pinched nerves, and even stenosis can mimic the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. As you may have already guessed treatment is different for each of these conditions and a thorough history, examination and imaging is very important in diagnosing correctly.
Unfortunately, many doctors don’t take the time to truly examine the patient or even listen to their symptoms with a discerning ear. It always amazes me when a patient comes to our office after a car accident and has been to the emergency room in one of our local Roseville hospitals and they come into our office with little or no imaging, and only a prescription for pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories. In fact, often times no one has even touched their neck or arm to determine the cause of their symptoms.
Our promise to you: If you come into our Roseville Chiropractic Clinic after a car accident, not only will we listen to you, and examine your areas of complaint, we will also take x-rays, and determine whether further imaging (like MRIs) are warranted. Then we will tell you our diagnosis and give you a treatment plan.