Many of the complaints that patients have when they visit a chiropractic office for the first time are usually linked to little problems that happened years before.
For example, a patient may have been involved in a low-speed car accident and now has an issue with their neck. After a thorough examination and x-rays, their doctor of chiropractic may note the presence of some cervical disk degeneration that might have made the patient’s neck less able to withstand the forces of the collision, potentially making their current injury worse and more difficult to treat.
Years earlier, that same patient may have experienced a minor fall or accident that resulted in a stiff or sore neck but when the pain gradually went away, they assumed the problem did as well.
Unfortunately, the body may not have completely healed on its own. Over time, the patient’s posture may have changed slightly and/or mobility in the neck may not have been completely restored and the small joints of spine could have begun to wear out or degenerate, sort of like tires wearing unevenly on a car that is out of alignment.
Several studies have shown that pre-existing spinal degeneration is associated with worse outcomes for patients with a whiplash injury. If your neck is letting you know something isn’t quite right with stiffness, pain, or even headaches, then it’s important to get it checked out sooner rather than later. Keeping the joints aligned and their mobility even and smooth can help reduce your risk for bigger problems later on, like a prolonged recovery if you hurt your neck in a future auto accident.
It’s surprising how well we take care of our cars, changing the oil regularly, having it aligned, but when it comes to the spine, even a collision with a wall is thought to be of little consequence.
Working on your posture at an early age and keeping your mobility even and smooth are best taken care of early on, not after arthritis has set in.