Any sort of motor vehicle accident injury usually affects your spine. There is almost no way for your spine not to be affected by the impact of another vehicle against your vehicle. Whiplash is the most common injury, but there are several other injuries that do not heal without a doctor's help and cannot be corrected without a chiropractor's help.
Pinched nerves are excruciating. In an accident, the impact pushes the discs and vertebrae out of the way to momentarily expose the nerves. The nerves will travel the same direction as the discs and vertebrae, but because soft tissues move slower than bones and cartilage in an accident, the nerves get caught between the discs and vertebrae as the discs and vertebrae snap back into place.
The sensation is similar to someone grabbing a tiny bit of your flesh and pinching it in the end of a needle-nose pliers. The only problem with that is that the pinching and pain never ends, unlike pinching with the pliers. The chiropractor spends a few sessions attempting to manipulate vertebrae and discs out of the way of the pinched nerves, thereby releasing both the nerves and the pain.
Slipped or Herniated Discs
The discs in your spine are circular pieces of cartilage that provide shock absorption and cushioning for the vertebrae. In an accident, it is very easy for the discs to slip out of place. After the initial impact of the collision, your vertebrae try to move back into place, but cannot because the discs have slipped out. The end result are discs that are getting crushed between two vertebrae, resulting in herniated disc problems, and intense pain.
A chiropractor can try to move the vertebrae in such a way that the discs slip back into place. These manipulations are not always successful, especially with severely slipped/herniated discs. (Slight herniations can be reversed.) However, the manipulations do relieve the associated pain so that you can function better.
Swollen Soft Tissues Near the Spine
Swollen soft tissues near the spine are as common as whiplash, especially after high-impact crashes. The blood vessels have ruptured all over the place, and your spine needs time to heal. You may even experience temporary paralysis as a result of the tissue damage. As your back heals, many of these challenges and signs of trauma will dissipate, and your back will be ready for chiropractic work. Your chiropractor will take great care when working around these areas.