Car accidents can cause a myriad of injuries ranging from mild to severe. From bumps and bruises to lacerations and broken bones, anything can happen.
Many people don’t immediately notice wrist pain from a car accident — especially if more severe injuries have taken place. But wrist injuries are common and should be treated to avoid issues in the future.
Who do you see to address the aches and pains you’re feeling in your wrists? Believe it or not, a chiropractor can help.
Table of Contents
- Why Does My Wrist Hurt After a Car Accident?
- 3 Causes of Wrist Pain From a Car Accident
- Symptoms of a Wrist Injury After a Car Accident
- Most Common Types of Wrist Injuries After a Car Accident
- 5 Ways Cascade Spine & Injury Center Can Help Wrist Injuries Caused by a Car Accident
Why Does My Wrist Hurt After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, injuries such as sprains, contusions, broken bones, or abrasions can affect the wrist and hand. These injuries are normally caused by compressive force, jerking motions, or blunt force trauma.
3 Causes of Wrist Pain From a Car Accident
#1: Compressive Force During a Front-End Collision
The most common cause of wrist injury during a car accident is compressive force.
Unfortunately, most people brace for impact by tightly gripping the steering wheel in the seconds leading to the crash.
This action tightens all the muscles in the area while channeling the force of the impact directly into the wrist and hands. As a result, soft tissues tear, and bones may break.
#2: Jerking Motions During a Rear-End Collision
Blunt trauma from a rear-end collision is another common cause of wrist injury after a car accident.
When another vehicle makes impact, it can cause your body to jerk violently from side to side or front to back.
You may not see this type of accident coming, so rather than tightening your grip on the steering wheel, your hands are jerked free. This can cause severe strains and sprains as ligaments and tendons are subjected to forceful pulling.
#3: Arms Flailing During a Collision
The jerking motions resulting from the impact may also cause your limbs to flail about the vehicle.
Your wrist or hand may strike something inside your vehicle, such as the dashboard, or make impact with the airbag.
This may cause lacerations, contusions, or fractures.
Symptoms of a Wrist Injury After a Car Accident
Wrist pain from a car accident is usually an indication that an injury has occurred. Discomfort may begin immediately, or in the days or weeks following the accident.
Delayed pain injuries may not seem serious, but they deserve the same attention as the injuries that are felt right away.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should keep an eye out for wrist injury symptoms, such as:
- Stiffness or pain in your joints
- Swelling and inflammation
- Redness, bruising, or tenderness
- Numbness or tingling
- Inability to form a fist or straighten your fingers, hand, or wrist
- Limited grip strength
- Burning sensation or warmth in your fingers, hands, or wrists
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away. Injuries left untreated can lead to long-term problems, such as arthritis, disability, and chronic pain
At Cascade Spine & Injury Center in Portland, OR, our focus is on your short-term and long-term quality of life. Waiting for car accident injuries to get better on their own is a mistake. Even minor injuries can turn into chronic conditions over time.
Using various modalities, the healthcare professionals at Cascade Spine & Injury Center can treat wrist injuries after a car accident. Call us to schedule your appointment and start experiencing relief today.
Most Common Types of Wrist Injuries After a Car Accident
Common wrist injuries after a car accident fall into two main categories: soft tissue and bone injuries. Below, we’ve listed the most common among these injuries.
Blunt force trauma can cause surface wounds that lacerate the skin and can damage the soft tissue beneath. These may include:
- Puncture wounds
In many cases, these types of injuries may not require ongoing medical attention. But deep lacerations can damage tendons or ligaments that may require surgical intervention and ongoing therapies.
Wrist sprains are caused by the stretching or tearing of the muscles and ligaments that connect your hands and wrists. Varying grades of strains will determine what type of care is needed.
- Grade one sprain – the ligaments have been stretched causing microtears and may cause pain, wrist strength and function may be affected.
- Grade two sprain – partially torn ligaments will limit function in the wrist and hand.
- Grade three sprain – ligaments are completely torn, potentially pulling away small pieces of bone and causing an avulsion fracture.
Grade one and two wrist sprains will require rest, hot and cold therapy, possibly a sling to immobilize the area, and some grade two tears may require surgery. A grade three sprain will likely require surgery and ongoing therapy to properly heal.
Hand, wrist, and arm fractures are among the most common fractures that occur in a car accident, and include:
- Scaphoid fracture – a partial or complete break of the wrist bone near the base of the thumb.
- Distal radius fracture – a partial or complete break of the bone of the forearm on the thumb side.
- Phalanx fracture – a partial or complete break of one or more fingers.
In most cases, a fracture may require surgery or a cast and in some cases, ongoing therapy for healing.
5 Ways Cascade Spine & Injury Center Can Help Wrist Injuries Caused by a Car Accident
Not all chiropractors will treat wrist injuries after a car accident. However, if you’re in the Portland, OR, area and are suffering from wrist pain from a car accident, Cascade Spine & Injury Center can help.
We use several modalities at our relaxing, multidisciplinary clinic. We’ll develop a personalized care plan to help you get back to enjoying your daily activities as pain-free as possible.
#1: Chiropractic Adjustments
A lot of people think chiropractors are only good for one thing — back problems. But chiropractors specialize in the conservative care of the entire neuromusculoskeletal system, including extremities such as the wrists and hands.
Dr. McClaren at Cascade Spine & Injury Center is an accredited Accident Reconstructionist by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists. He has extensive experience treating auto accident-related injuries, including wrist and hand injuries.
If you’re in the Portland, OR, area and have injured your wrist in a car accident, give Cascade Spine & Injury Center a call.
Massage therapy can be used on its own, or as a complementary treatment to chiropractic and other healing modalities.
Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues in your body, such as:
- Connective tissue
- Tendons; and
Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, and elbows to tap, knead, rub, and stroke these soft tissues.
Massage therapy for wrist and hand injuries can help with:
- Improved circulation
- Reduced muscle tension
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased joint mobility and flexibility; and
- Recovery of soft tissue damage and injuries
At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, our massage therapists are fully licensed to practice in the state of Oregon. Because Oregon is among the strictest states in the country for licensing, you can rest assured our therapists are highly trained.
Many patients are nervous the first time they try acupuncture. The thought of having dozens of tiny needles inserted into your skin may seem intimidating, but we promise, it’s rarely painful.
In fact, many patients report not feeling the needles at all. And since our acupuncturists are trained to insert the needles in a way that prevents discomfort, you likely won’t feel them either.
Once inserted, the needles begin to improve the flow of chi through the body’s various meridians or channels.
At our Portland, OR, clinic, we use acupuncture primarily to:
- Release tight muscles
- Reduce pain; and
- Accelerate the body’s natural healing process
#4: Ultrasound Therapy
Ultrasound may also be used to help break up the scar tissue caused by your wrist and hand injuries.
Scar tissue restricts joint movement and can cause pain, but ultrasound helps break the fibers of the scar tissue into smaller fragments.
Ultrasound therapy has many benefits, including:
- Increased tissue relaxation
- Improved range of motion in joints and muscles
- Reduced swelling and chronic inflammation
- Accelerated healing of bone fractures; and
- Increased blood flow
If you’re experiencing wrist pain from a car accident, ultrasound therapy may be beneficial to your healing process.
#5: Exercise Therapy
Exercise therapy — or rehab — is a critical part of almost every patient’s recovery process.
After a car accident, injuries may cause muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the wrist to become inflexible and shortened.
Targeted therapeutic exercises help reverse the damage done and restore strength, endurance, coordination, and flexibility to the injured areas. Rehab exercises also help prevent re-injury.
At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, our rehabilitative programs are tailored to the needs of each patient. Our goal is to help every patient restore and maintain physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.