When someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffers neck pain, the likely cause is whiplash. Whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take days to weeks or even months to manifest. It is often an overlooked injury and one can be fooled into thinking that they are not as injured.
Whiplash injuries typically follow automobile injuries but can occur from sports related injures, skateboarding injures and even simple slips and falls. Numerous studies have shown that years after whiplash victims settle an insurance claim roughly half of them state that they still suffer with symptoms from their injuries. If you have been in a motor vehicle or any other kind of accident, don’t assume that you escaped injury if you are not currently in pain.
The term “whiplash” is used to define an injury mechanism of rapid, sudden whipping back of the neck followed by an immediate “whipping” forward of the neck that results in damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. One of the key points here is rapid, these movements occur so fast that the protective mechanisms of the neck are unable to protect itself and damage occurs
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
Chiropractic care utilizes manual manipulation of the spine to restore the normal movement and position of the spinal vertebrae. It is by far the single-most effective treatment for minimizing the long-term impact of whiplash injuries, especially when coupled with massage therapy, trigger point therapy, exercise rehabilitation and other soft tissue rehabilitation modalities.
When the force of energy (movement) is transferred to a victim of a car accident the energy of the impact that reaches the patient is equal to 2 times the speed of impact. That means that a 5 mile per hour bump in the rear has a potential to do some real damage to the victim. This is particularly true when the force of the impact was not sufficient to result in deformation of the vehicle, resulting in all of the energy being transferred to the occupant would be approximately equal to twice the speed of impact. Vehicle deforming as a result of the collision absorbs significant impact forces, thus reducing the amount transmitted to the occupant. During rear-end automobile collisions your body goes through an extremely rapid and intense acceleration and deceleration. There are 4 phases of this acceleration/deceleration. At each phase, there is a different force acting on the body that contributes to the overall injury, and with such a sudden and forceful movement, damage to the vertebrae, nerves, discs, muscles, and ligaments of your neck and spine can be substantial.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The most common symptoms related to whiplash include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Shoulder pain and stiffness
- Jaw pain (temporomandibular joint symptoms)
- Arm pain
- Arm weakness
- Visual disturbances
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Back pain
In the more severe and chronic case of “whiplash associated disorder” symptoms can include:
- Drug dependency
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Sleep disturbance (insomnia)