During a car accident, the body begins to brace for the impact as soon as it perceives a threat or danger. The body's "fight or flight" response kicks in, and an abundance of adrenaline is released. If the muscles are tense or tightened when impact occurs, the adrenaline in the muscles minimizes any discomfort the person feels. Over the next few days, the effects of the excess adrenaline wear off. When this occurs, the muscles begin to feel the pain and discomfort associated with the accident. This is especially true of whiplash, which may not show up for 24 hours or more after an accident.
Whiplash is an injury to the neck that results from violent jerking back and forth. It can be the result of a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or blunt force trauma to the head or neck. The muscles, connective tissues, and the bones in the neck are responsible for protecting the head and allowing it to move freely. The constant motion of the head often prevents the muscles in the neck and shoulders from relaxing. Even though inflammation reduces and blood flows to the area, the tissues in the neck usually heal more slowly than others. While maintaining movement is important for strength and mobility, the neck should remain immobile for as long as possible to allow the tissues to heal properly.
During a car accident, muscles throughout the body can tighten, resulting in strains and sprains as the person tries to control how their body responds to the jolt. The tighter they hold or constrict their muscles, the more damage the accident may cause. Injuries can include back strains, leg strains, joint dislocation, and mild to severe head trauma. While relaxing before impact may help to avoid certain injuries, it can increase the risk of certain others. Because many injuries don't appear for 1 or 2 days after the accident, it’s important to see a chiropractor or other medical professional as soon as possible.
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