Postural Muscle Weakness After a Car Accident

Our musculoskeletal system is made up of all of our bones and muscles, working together to help us stand and move.  Our muscles are either postural, phasic, or a mix of both.  Postural muscles brace your posture as gravity pulls down on it.  They have slow-twitch muscle fibers and are made for continued work and when exposed to some kind of injury or trauma, or are over or under-used, these muscles shorten.  Postural muscles are spinal muscles, hip flexors, calves, pectorals, lower back, upper back, and those muscles at the back of the neck.

Phasic muscles, on the other hand, have fast-twitch muscle fibers which mean they’re made for movement.  They tire more quickly and easily than postural muscles. These muscles lengthen and weaken when injured or are over or under-used.  Examples of phasic muscles are glutes, deltoids, triceps, abdominals, and the lower trapezius (mid-back between the shoulder blades)>   

In situations where postural and phasic muscles are supposed to work together, trauma can cause an imbalance that can cause the body to fall because joints become unstable.  Muscle weakness is one of the main reasons that people fall. The weakness could be to lack of use, degeneration as we age, or some kind of trauma like having been in a car accident.  

When you drive, your phasic muscles are mostly at rest while your postural muscles are holding up your head and keeping your back straight.  The impact from an auto accident, often from behind, throws your body violently and even if you are wearing a seatbelt, you can sustain injuries, particularly in your postural muscles.  


Whiplash happens when your car is struck from behind and your head is sharply whipped backward and then forward, causing injury to the soft tissue around the cervical spine (the area of your spine near your neck).  Untreated whiplash can also lead to decreased range of motion, headaches, vertigo, degenerative disk disease, and spinal misalignment.    

Back Pain

The same whiplash effect that can injure your neck can also cause damage to your upper or lower back.  There could be misalignment in your spine or damage to a disk, both of which can be extremely painful and if left untreated, can lead to chronic pain and decreased range of motion.  Chronic pain can decrease your quality of life and cause you to stop doing the things you enjoy because they’ve become too painful. It can also cause you to turn to addictive painkillers to mask the pain instead of treating the source of the problem.

When the postural muscles are injured in a car accident, the weakened muscles can make you more susceptible to falling and sustaining further injuries.  The sooner you are diagnosed and begin treatment, the sooner your body can begin the process of healing and returning your balance back to normal.  

North County Pain Relief is proud to celebrate National Chiropractic Health Month by spotlighting this year’s topic, Musculoskeletal Health.  The health of our bones and muscles is vital to keeping our bodies strong and active. If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to be examined to make sure you didn’t sustain any hard-to-detect injuries whose symptoms may not appear immediately.  North County Pain Relief is a full-service chiropractic care facility offering various treatments for treating your pain and your overall health. Call us today at (314) 731-4201 to make an appointment.