top of page
  • Dr. Mark Freund

Car Accident Recovery and Care: How Long Does it Take?

recovering from car accident injury

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Car Accident With Chiropractic Care?

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of neck and back injuries. Severe car accidents may also involve other parts of the body as well. Left untreated, a car accident injury can cause chronic pain and soreness. Consulting a chiropractor right after the accident help reduce pain and increase the chances of early car accident recovery, especially in the case of spinal injuries.

That said, timing is of utmost importance when it comes to treating car accident injuries. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are what is required in most cases to ensure early healing and recovery and minimize the chances of complications. This article will explain why timing is important and how long you should see a chiropractor after a car accident.

Why Should You See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

A car accident chiropractor can help you in many ways, help you avoid pain and lifelong discomfort, and allow you normality that allows you to live your life comfortably again.

Why is a chiropractor so beneficial? One major reason is that, unlike a lot of traditional medical treatments after a car accident, a chiropractor offers solutions that are non-invasive and also drug-free.

You have suffered enough pain after a car accident, and if there is a way to avoid invasive and painful treatments post-accident, then they should be explored. A chiropractor can also help you to diagnose your pain and injuries, even when you do not feel pain right away. Sometimes after an accident, you will feel 100% fine. This does not mean that you are not injured, but rather, it means that due to the adrenaline hormone flowing through your body, you are numb to the pain.

A chiropractor can help to diagnose the inside injuries to your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even skeletal system that maybe you do not feel as of yet, and also let you know if you can benefit from the treatment of a chiropractor.

chiropractic care after a car accident

The chiropractor can give you a physical exam, order x-rays, review your medical history and create a total plan that works for you. Furthermore, chiropractic care has many other benefits and, therefore, many reasons that you should see one after an accident, including:

  • Creating a treatment plan that reduces inflammation

  • Helps to reduce pain in the here and now and also chronic pain in the future

  • Ensures you can avoid relying on a drug regimen to deal with pain

  • Reduces your chances of needing more invasive surgical treatments

Most people should see a chiropractor after a car accident, especially if you feel pain or have injuries in your neck, back, shoulders, or head.

Car Accident Injuries Chiropractors Can Treat

Depending on where you were seated in a vehicle, the angle of the collision, and the speed of the vehicles when they collided, you may have suffered a wide range of car accident injuries. While some of the injuries may be caused by the impact, other injuries, such as those to the chest, can occur because of forces from protective restraint systems such as airbags, side cushions, and seat belts.

Each auto accident injury can cause physical symptoms, and multiple injuries can cause the same type of symptom. Many injuries can benefit from treatment from a chiropractor. Here are several car accident injuries a chiropractor can treat:


It is common to experience headaches after a car accident, even if you did not sustain a blow to the head in the collision.

Headaches can indicate a serious car accident injury, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussions, or neck-and-shoulder soft tissue damage.

In severe cases, headaches that persist and worsen could signal other, potentially fatal, problems such as swelling or bleeding in the brain.

Back Pain

Car accidents, especially those that occur at high speeds, can contort drivers’ and passengers’ bodies in all types of unnatural positions, leading to injuries along the spinal column.

Back pain can sometimes simply result from a sprain, strain, or other soft tissue damage in the back. However, in other cases, back pain indicates a more serious injury such as fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, or slipped discs.

Persistent back pain can signal a worsening injury. Fractured vertebrae are especially dangerous because loose pieces of bone can get lodged in the spinal cord and cause permanent harm.

Neck Pain

Car accident victims commonly experience neck pain. The impact of a collision, even at low speeds, can cause the neck to flex and extend rapidly in a whip-like motion.

The ensuing soft-tissue injury commonly referred to as “whiplash,” can cause severe physical discomfort and limitations, including persistent pain and headaches. The whipping action of the injury can also cause fractures or bulged discs in the neck. Neck pain, in other words, can indicate a serious injury.

Numbness and Other Aches and Pains

Sometimes car accident victims feel a general soreness, numbness, or have aches and pains throughout their bodies. Stomach pains that do not subside can indicate organ damage or other internal injuries.

auto accident chiropractic care

Numbness can indicate nerve damage, a spinal cord injury, or a brain injury, all of which could cause long-term damage.

You cannot predict exactly how you will feel hours or days after a car accident, but you do need to listen to your body. If the pain does not subside, then you might have suffered more serious injuries than you initially thought.


You can typically expect at least some bruising after a car accident, even if only where your seatbelt touched your body. If moving objects struck you during the crash or your body hit the seat in front of you, the steering column, the dashboard, or a deployed airbag, you may have extensive bruising.

Most bruises result from blood capillaries breaking right below your skin. They cause soreness but usually heal within a couple of weeks.

Yet, bruising can also indicate internal bleeding, so you cannot ignore it. Internal bleeding may indicate organ damage and other internal injuries that, if left untreated, could lead to death.

The spine consists of discs that have hard exteriors and soft interiors. In a traumatic event like a car accident, the hard exterior can suffer damage, forcing the softer interior to leak out. Herniated discs can lead to pain and weakness in your arm or leg. Chiropractic adjustments can help treat herniated discs and alleviate discomfort.

Knee Injuries

If your knees hit the dashboard, seats, or other objects in a vehicle during a collision, you could suffer knee injuries. These injuries can cause extreme pain in the knees and limit your movement. Without proper treatment, these injuries can lead to long-term pain and difficulty walking. An auto accident injury chiropractor can treat knee pain without surgery or drugs, providing long-term relief.

Chest Pain

It’s not uncommon for airbags to cause chest pain in the event of a car accident. Although this device is designed to prevent life-threatening injuries that result from car collisions, it can still result in bruising, soreness, and pain in the chest area. Regular chiropractic treatments can help alleviate chest pain from a car accident.

Potential Emotional Trauma from a Car Accident

Unfortunately, car accidents also inflict emotional trauma. Accidents alone without injuries can cause severe emotional distress. When you add serious physical injuries to the mix, the trauma often intensifies. Mental health issues and emotional struggles that some car accident victims experience include:

  • Anxiety or outright fear, especially when it comes to driving or riding in a vehicle.

  • Depression can be chemical, psychological, or a combination of both, depending on the situation.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and accompanying symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares

  • Humiliation, especially if someone is partially or fully to blame for the accident.

  • Survivor’s guilt or guilt from witnessing the death of another in car accidents with fatalities

Car Accident Recovery Process

The journey to recovery after a car accident is often long and challenging. There are plenty of bumps along the way, and it can take months or even years to get back to where you were before the accident happened. So if you or someone you know got involved in a car accident, be prepared for a long road ahead. That means it’s imperative to get the right car accident care.

Immediate Medical Response

After a car accident, the first and most important thing to do is receive medical attention. It means calling 911 and waiting for emergency responders to arrive. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s essential to get checked out by a medical professional. Many injuries, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent. And if you wait too long to seek medical attention, your injuries could worsen.

after a car accident

Once emergency responders arrive, they will assess the situation and provide any necessary medical treatment. If your injuries are severe, they will take you to the hospital for further treatment. If your injuries are not painful, you may be able to be treated at the scene of the accident or released from the hospital after a short stay.

Regardless of the severity of injuries, it’s essential to follow up with your doctor after the accident. They will be able to properly diagnose and treat any damages you may have sustained in the accident.

Long-Term Health Maintenance

Even years after surgery, some patients still experience health problems. The reason is that surgery is only a temporary fix and doesn’t address the underlying causes of the health problem.

There are several reasons why this can happen. Surgery may not be able to address the root cause of the problem, or it may not be effective in treating all of the symptoms. In addition, some patients don’t follow through with post-surgery instructions, which can hinder their recovery process.

Finally, many patients don’t realize that they need to make lifestyle changes to keep their health problems under control. It includes making changes to diet, exercise habits, and stress levels. Making these changes can be difficult, but it’s essential if you want to live a healthy life post-surgery.

One of the most common problems after a car accident is joint and muscle pain. Often, this pain can persist even after the initial injuries have healed. If you are still experiencing pain, it’s essential to visit a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are experts in treating joint and muscle pain. They can help you identify the source of the pain and provide treatment to help you recover quickly. In addition, they can give you advice on how to prevent future injuries.

Chiropractor Treatments for Car Accident Injuries

Here are some of the best auto accident chiropractic care treatments for speeding up the recovery process:

Electric Muscle Stimulation

Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is a chiropractic procedure that sends a weak electric current through the muscles to accelerate recovery. This process leads to muscular contraction, relieving pain, reducing swelling, and toning the muscles.

Whiplash Treatment

Whiplash is an injury in the neck caused by excessive bending, usually occurring after an auto accident. During the early healing stages, chiropractic treatment will reduce inflammation, including gentle stretching and manual therapy.

woman with neck injury from car accident

To speed up your recovery, chiropractors may recommend having light neck support and applying ice packs from time to time to reduce inflammation. Once the swelling in your neck has gone down, chiropractors may also apply moist heat. If needed, they may also provide other treatments, such as ultrasound and massages. When inflammation and pain subside, that is the time for chiropractors to perform manipulations and other essential procedures to restore your neck joints to their proper functioning.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy reduces inflammation and swelling, relieves pain, restores the range of motion, and improves muscle strength. The following are some examples of such therapy:

  • Resistance Techniques

  • Therapeutic Massages

  • Joint Stretching

  • Trigger Point Therapy

  • Soft-Tissue Techniques

Spinal Manipulation

Studies have proven that the spine influences other bodily functions, and misalignment can cause extreme pain. To realign the spine and other joints, the chiropractic procedure performed is spinal manipulation. Here are the three different techniques in which spinal manipulation is involved:

  • Flexion-Distraction Technique – This specific technique is used to reduce pain and inflammation caused by herniated discs. The Flexion-Distraction technique involves gentle spinal manipulation in the form of slow pumping actions. Whiplash injuries from auto accidents cause herniated discs to aggravate, and this technique is one of the most viable options to address it.

  • Instrument-Assisted Manipulation – This non-thrusting technique is best used for older patients suffering from degenerative joint syndrome and auto accident injuries. As the name implies, instrument-Assisted manipulation involves using a hand-held tool to apply force to the spine gently.

  • Specific Spinal Manipulation – This thrusting technique is for restoring spinal joints to their normal motion and functioning. Specific Spinal Manipulation involves identifying the spinal joints with restricted motions and using a thrusting technique, which stretches soft tissues and triggers the body’s nervous system to restore spinal joints to normal conditions.

Car Accident Tips for a Speedy Recovery

Depending on the severity of the injury, it could take weeks or months to fully recover, so you want to make sure that you make time for recovery. Some of the tips to follow for auto accident care are:

Seek Medical Attention

As soon as you get run over by a car or happen to be involved in an auto collision, you want to, as a matter of urgency, check-in with the emergency room for treatment. It is possible that you may not notice any signs of injury or bleeding when your vehicle collides with another.

You could suffer internal injuries or bleeding that won’t show up as a health issue until days or weeks later. So you want to act quickly and get to the hospital for a complete checkup to be sure that there are no internal damages to major organs in the body.

Check with an Auto Injury Specialist

After you get the initial treatment which will be to attend to injuries and a further scan to determine the nature of the injury sustained, if any, you want to check with an auto injury specialist. Your doctor may not have the needed experience to provide orthopedic treatments in the case you suffer spinal and bone damage.

This is where seeking the services of a chiropractor may be in your best interest. They are trained to provide an alternative form of treatment to patients with musculoskeletal problems, which they won’t normally get from their GP.

Stick to your Treatment Plan

Part of your recovery treatment from an auto accident will have you scheduled for regular visits to the clinic. And you want to do well to keep it a date with every appointment. They will also be recommendations on what and what not to do during the recovery period, and you want to make sure you stick to them.

As mentioned earlier, treatment will be slow as you don’t want to compound the issues and give your spine and bones the time needed to heal. So you want to take time off work and refrain from stressful activities that may take a toll on your health while you recover.

chiropractic treatment plan for auto accident injury

Your treatment may be in the form of combined medication and physical therapy, which will help your spine, joints, and bones to heal quickly. Rather than avoiding the recommended treatment, especially if you think that they are not helping you with recovering, you want to talk to your doctor about other treatment options. And as earlier advised, it will be best to consult with a chiropractor for helping to recover from an auto accident.

Get Adequate Rest

One of the important things that will be of use in helping your recover quickly from an accident is adequate rest. As mentioned earlier, you need to take time away from work and any stressful responsibilities you engage in normally. You need enough rest for your bones and body to completely heal, which is why you want to take sleep and meditation seriously.

It is also likely that you will need physical therapy and exercises to help your recover quickly, and you don’t want to engage in anything strenuous at the start of your treatment. Your doctor should be able to recommend the right form of physical therapy during the different stages of treatment.

Use Exercises to Manage the Pain

While you surely will be prescribed several over-the-counter meds to help with dealing with the pain, you also want to exercise and stretch daily to help your musculoskeletal system get back to normal. If you are not okay with conventional pain killers, you could consider the use of CBD oils and edibles to assist with dealing with the pain and inflammation. Massages are ideal for assisting the joints, ligaments, and muscles get back in form.

You will also have to work on cardiovascular exercises that can help your nervous and respiratory systems to get back to full functional capacity. As advised, you want to take things slow so as not to worsen your condition and prolong recovery from any injuries.

Adopt the Right Diet and Stay Hydrated

You will also benefit from a balanced diet and adequate hydration to help you recover from injuries. The body and bones get their vitamins and minerals from food, and you want to make sure that you adopt the right diet to speed up the healing process. Ensure that you get the needed furl to recover from healthy meals and don’t rely on supplements for your nutrition.

nutrition for speedy recovery

Fruits and vegetables can help with the immune boost needed to speed up recovery. Drinking the recommended amount of water daily will also assist with hydration and digestion, which you need to support healing.

Car Accident Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic procedures are proven to help accelerate car accident recovery, but the big question is, “For how long should you go to a chiropractor after an accident?”

To that question, there is no definite answer.

Incorporating car accident chiropractic care into your health care routine yields many benefits, so you can still schedule chiropractic visits even after a full recovery. For high-quality chiropractic treatment, consult the best chiropractors. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page