You remember the car crash like it was yesterday. It all happened so quickly and everything after seems like a blur. And now, months or even years after the physical and emotional wounds have mostly healed, you still experience back or neck pain.
You’re not alone. Every year, more than 2.5 million Americans require emergency care after a car accident. Many of those cases report persistent and chronic back pain as a result. The pain you feel can stem from injuries ranging in severity from minor whiplash and disc herniation to spinal fracture. Your spine comprises 33 vertebrae, and your neck and back include 32 different muscles and 31 major nerve roots, with dozens of other ligaments and tendons. Any number of these can be hurt easily and in various combinations. Even after healing, muscle weakness, structural damage and general stiffness can cause debilitating pain and poor range of motion.
If you’re cleared by a doctor for physical activity, these simple, zero-stress back stretches should provide some relief. Of course, these are best done in coordination with a healthy fitness regimen:
1. Neck Rolls
Stand or sit up straight. Lower one ear to your shoulder and slowly roll your head to the opposite shoulder. Your chin should feel tucked to your chest at the midpoint of the stretch.
Target: cervical (neck) spine.
2. Shoulder Raises
Stand or sit up straight. Lift your arms from your sides to shoulder height, or higher, if possible. If you’re feeling strong, feel free to use weights (cans of soup from your cupboard work quite nicely) or resistance bands.
Target: cervical and thoracic (mid-back) spine.
3. Arm Scissors
Stand up straight and extend your arms to your sides at shoulder height. Swing (or scissor) your arms across in front of your chest. You can do one arm at a time or both arms. You’ll feel most of the stretch across your lats (upper back).
Target: cervical and thoracic spine.
4. Downward Dog
In this common yoga pose, you get down on your hands and knees and raise your hips to form an inverted, or upside down, “V.” Keep your back and legs as straight as possible. An exercise mat should save you from knee pain and other bumps and bruises.
Target: lumbar (lower) spine.
Easy Stretches Can Relieve Your Chronic Back Pain After a Car Accident
A back injury from a car accident, whether minor or severe, can cause problems the rest of your life. Your pain likely stems from instability and weakness of the spinal structure. In some serious cases, the muscles and joints of the spinal column can atrophy, severely limiting your ability to rehab and heal.
So be proactive now. Move. Stretch those muscles. Move those joints. Build your strength back. But perform each exercise only to tolerance. There’s no use overexerting yourself and causing more damage.
Where exercise and stretching aren’t enough, an experienced chiropractor in Parrish, FL may provide great supplemental care while preventing more costly and painful medical interventions later. North River Chiropractic can help! Schedule an appointment at our new location or call us at (941) 933-1500.