December is a particularly hazardous month for Oregon drivers.  According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), December has been the peak month for motor vehicle accidents the past 3 out of 5 years. ODOT recorded Friday between 5:00 and 5:59pm as being the most dangerous time on the road, with rear-end collisions ranking as the most frequent type of accident.

One of the most common complaints after a motor vehicle accident is neck pain.  When a collision occurs, your neck is the only part of your spine that is not restrained by your seatbelt.  The impact of a collision forces your neck into positions that extend well beyond the normal range of motion, resulting in torn, over-stretched muscles and ligaments.  This is called whiplash.

Whiplash is characterized by a sore and painfully tight neck.  Nerves can also become irritated, resulting in numbness, tingling, and weakness in your arms and hands.  These symptoms can arise immediately after the accident or up to several weeks later.

It is a smart idea to make an appointment to get checked out by your chiropractor within a few days after an accident, no matter how small the collision.  Your chiropractor will perform a complete history and exam to determine whether or not treatment is necessary.

If treatment is suggested, your chiropractor will restore your spine back to it’s normal state of function in two main stages: the healing and rehabilitation stages.  The first stage of your treatment, the healing stage, involves reducing muscle spasm through the use of soft tissue therapies and restoring joint motion with chiropractic adjustments.  The second stage, or rehabilitation stage, involves strengthening muscles and restoring joint proprioception.

So drive safe, especially in the month of December!  But know that if you do get into an accident, Dr. Blair and staff  are ready to serve you.