Car accidents are a terrible reality of our modern lives. Millions of accidents happen every year but not everyone gets the care they need and have the right to receive. Many patients do not go to the hospital or to the Emergency room when released by paramedics at the scene of an accident. With adrenaline and shock kicking in, many patients do not feel pain or discomfort until after they are home. Pain can show up days or even weeks later. This is why it is important to seek care sooner than later!

When people do not seek the proper care for car accident injuries, over time the body can compensate and lead to chronic pain. Although this may be your first accident, it is important that you work with doctors and professionals that understand personal injury and how to best help you through the confusion of insurances and treatment. Know that at BodyBack Chiropractic in Portland, ME you will have a team of doctors and staff that will help you navigate what can be a difficult and confusing time.

Whiplash and other injuries due to acute trauma affect many aspects of the body. It is important that you have a provider that addresses your entire body so that injuries sustained in your Motor Vehicle Accident do not become lasting problems.

How We Treat Auto Injuries In Portland, ME

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

A personal injury, or car accident, consultation and examination are all focused on you, the patient, and finding the root cause of your pain. We start by getting to know you as a person and how these personal injuries due to a car accident are impacting life. We then get an in-depth knowledge of your car accident and learn the trauma your body went through and how this is affecting your life. We want to return your body to the way it was prior to your car accident. Proper documentation and functional is the key to ensuring insurance coverage of your injuries.

We then perform a complete comprehensive exam using our M.A.P.S. approach. Through specific testing of your nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems to determine where there are issues with Movement, Alignment (posture), Pain (stiffness), and Strength of the body , we can then answer the questions every patient has: What’s wrong? How can We help? How long will it take to get better?

Specific Chiropractic Care

Following a car accident, strained muscles and sprained joints begin going through and inflammatory cycle. The body then goes into a ‘guarding’ state where muscles tense and joints are limited in their movement. Chiropractic adjustments undo this damage.

Chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring proper Movement, Alignment, and relieving neck pain. These specific movements are designed to be comfortable, gentle, and targeted directly at the root cause of your pain.

Many patients are nervous for their first adjustment but are pleasantly surprised that it is pain free, provides instant relief, and you walk out feeling much better.

Why adjustments are so important after car accidents

When accidents occur, the nervous system that controls the muscles, movement and inflammation responds to attempt to heal the body. Chiropractic adjustments help to facilitate the healing in the body through decreasing inflammation, removing irritation to the nervous system, and restoring proper movement.

Because of this, it is important to see your chiropractor As Soon As Possible to start the process of healing.

Muscle and Soft Tissue Work

When a person experiences whiplash cases, there is a lot of damage that can happen to your muscles and soft tissue in a car accident. This damage to soft tissue needs to be treated by loosening up any tight muscles, especially in the neck and back, to allow the spine to move properly. This is just as important as an adjustment and both treatments should be provided.

Therapeutic Exercises

With the spine adjusted and muscles relaxed, we then teach patients how to care for their own neck. We use a system that teaches the foundations for a healthy neck starting with proper posture, stretching, and finishing with strength building exercises for the neck. Our goal is to get you out of pain fast, keep you that way and teach you what you can do every day to stay feeling great.

One important factor with a car accident is to make sure that the pain goes COMPLETELY. It is common for injuries suffered in a car accident to linger.

With patients teaming up by stretching and strengthening our corrective exercise programs do not just help you feel better temporarily, you get long lasting relief.

Common Injuries from Auto Accidents

Whiplash and Neck Pain:

The most common injury sustained in a car accident is whiplash. Whiplash is the rapid movement of your head forwards and backwards when an impact occurs. When an accident occurs our muscles try to protect our brain and spinal cord by tightening. When an accident is significant enough, these muscles are strained. In worse events, these muscles are strained and still unable to protect our spine resulting in sprained ligaments , disc injury and concussion.

What happens next is a guarding of the neck through chronic and constant tightening of neck muscles. This protection changes the normal cervical curvature and when untreated, results in degenerative changes over time. It is important that the neck fully recovers after whiplash to ensure long term damage does not occur.

Low Back Pain From Car Accidents

Lower back pain is very common after an accident. This occurs based on the amount of impact, the position of the back, hips, and legs when the accident occurred and the position of the seat.

During an accident, the most common response of our legs is to ‘ slam ‘ on the breaks. This creates a sudden and intense twisting of the pelvis and lower back resulting in muscles straining. Symptoms of this are tight, aching, and sore back pain. If our muscles are unable to stabilize the lower back during an impact, it can affect not just the muscles, but also the spinal ligaments and discs. Symptoms of this lower back pain, stiffness, tension, and pain into the hip, back of the leg or even to the foot.

Chiropractors are the experts in caring for your spine after a car accident . If these problems aren’t fixed it can lead to degeneration, or wear and tear due to muscular imbalances.

Shoulder Pain due to Accidents

A common injury in car accidents is shoulder injuries. Common reasons for this are the way that a seatbelt crosses the shoulder and when we brace for impact with our hands on the steering wheel. This results in a strain to the shoulder joint, or in more severe cases, muscle tears and ligament damage.

Rotator cuff strains are when the muscles that stabilize have to work extremely hard to protect the shoulder. This results in microtears in the muscles. Symptoms of this are pain with movement, pain worse at night, and/or pain that wakes a patient up at a night. To treat this, chiropractors focus on muscle work, providing stretches and exercises, and ensuring proper movement.

When the rotator cuff is unable to stabilize the shoulder joint, the joint capsule and ligaments are overstretched. This is a shoulder sprain. Sprains are more difficult to heal as it requires strengthening and stabilizing the shoulder joint, as well as, allowing more time for the ligaments and tendons to heal. Chiropractors make sure this healing occurs properly.

Knee Pain due to motor vehicle accidents

Knee pain after an accident occurs most commonly due to the knees striking the dashboard of the vehicle. This results in trauma to the knee, as well as ‘jamming’ of the hip and pelvis. The result is pain, inflammation, and tensing of muscles to protect ligaments and joints.

The first goal of resolving knee injuries due to an accident is to decrease pain and restore normal motion. To do this, our treatment focuses on decreasing pain and to restore normal movement through stretches and light exercises. This allows for muscle and joint healing.

In addition to treating the knee, many patients experience hip and lower back problems when they have knee pain. This is created due to compensating for pain and walking differently. This imbalance makes treating the hip and lower back to completely restore the body back to feeling as good, or better, than before an accident. Because of our whole body approach, chiropractors not only treat the spine, but also treat knee pain due to car accidents.


Concussions are a common occurrence in motor vehicle accidents. This is due to swelling of the brain tissue after an impact. Whether due to whiplash, where the brain ‘hits’ against the skull, or if the head hits part of the car such as the door or steering wheel, it is important that the brain is able to heal. Along with the brain injury, concussion patients almost always have neck strain due to the body trying to protect itself from injury.

Symptoms of concussions vary as it can affect everyone different. Common symptoms are headaches, brain ‘fog ‘, and feeling more emotional. Oftentimes, concussion symptoms worsen with movement, screen time, or increasing body temperature. It is important that patients recognize this is normal and that 80% of concussions will heal in 2 weeks as the brain decreases.

Chiropractors assist the body as the brain heals. Many concussion patients report feeling improvement through soft tissue treatment of the muscles of the neck and chiropractic adjustments. Specific eye exercises and balance exercises can also help restore the brain back to normal functioning. An approach of stretches, balance exercises, eye movements, soft tissue treatment and adjustments assist the brain in healing and reduce neck pain associated with concussions.

What You Need To Know If You’ve Been In A Car Accident In Portland, ME

Should I Go To The Chiropractor After A Car Accident?

Yes! Many aches and pains associated with a car accident take time to build. Getting your body checked as soon as possible is important.

Does Car Insurance Pay For A Chiropractor After A Car Accident?

Yes! Everyone has medical coverage in their car insurance. In Maine, it is considered a ‘ No Fault ‘ States. This means that your own personal insurance will cover your medical expenses so that you get the care you need quickly without waiting.

What Are My Rights To Care After A Car Accident In Portland, ME?

First, we hope you are ok! It is important for you to know that you can see any provider you would like after an accident. Any legal advice or ‘rights’ can be discussed with a local personal injury lawyer.

Do I Have To Pay Anything Out Of Pocket After A Car Accident?

All auto coverage policies have medical coverage. The amount can vary, however, you have coverage. Even if you have gone over your coverage, many patients work with local law firms to ensure you get the coverage you need at no expense to you.

How Long Should I Go to A Chiropractor After A Car Accident?

Car accident injuries can vary in length of time based on severity of the condition. For many soft tissue injuries (muscles, ligaments, etc.) it can take 8 – 12 weeks or even more. It is important to start treatment as soon as you notice a problem.