Whiplash

Whiplash is the most common car accident injury, it is caused by a rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head. The whiplash motion is commonly caused when the car is struck from behind and can occur at high speed collisions as well as accidents under 10 miles per hour.  At one time the idea of whiplash may have been written off but studies have validated the damage and subsequent pain caused by this injury.  

A chiropractic doctor uses a holistic approach, understanding that the body is interconnected and the various parts of the body have an effect on each other, therefore your chiropractor may address your whiplash in one or more ways, including treatment for joint dysfunction, muscle dysfunction, disc derangement and faulty movement patterns.

What causes Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury occurring around the cervical spine.  The cervical spine is the name for the section of the spine at the neck.  The cervical spine includes seven vertebrae, basically the top section of your spine.  Your vertebrae protect your spinal cord, the nerves that connect to the brain, as well as supporting your skull.  

Your cervical spine normally has a C-shape that curves to the front.  The whole spine curves to distribute the weight of the human body.  The cervical spine has a gentle curve that supports the weight of the head and absorbs shock during walking or running.  It is protected by ligaments that can help avoid movements outside of the normal range that can cause damage.  

After the impact of a car accident, the cervical spine goes from the normal C-shape to an unnatural S-shaped curve.  This S-shape extends the lower portion of the cervical spine, bending it backwards.  The upper portion of the cervical spine is forced into flexion.  Both positions are beyond the healthy range of motion of your neck, though typically the lower portion is moved further out of its normal range of motion.  This can damage the ligaments and discs in the neck.

Low Impact Whiplash

Many associate whiplash injuries with major impact, yet it is common to suffer a whiplash injury at a low speed of impact. Just because there is minimal car damage does not mean the neck was not injured. In fact, low impact accidents can produce a higher dynamic loading of the neck.  In high speed crashes the cars will absorb some of the force of impact by crumpling.  In low speed impacts the people in the vehicles receive most of the force of the impact, usually resulting in a whiplash injury.

The severity of the injury can depend on many factors, including the posture at the time of impact, overall health, and the type of collision.  Sometimes the symptoms of whiplash don’t show up right away.  Not everyone experiences the same symptoms from whiplash, but typically you will experience neck pain and stiffness the day after the accident.  The pain may increase over the next few days.  You may experience headaches, shoulder pain, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty in concentration, back pain, arm weakness and jaw pain.

The pain and symptoms resulting from a whiplash injury can last for months or years.  A delay in the initial treatment makes a difference in the way that you recover from whiplash.  There can be significant injury to nerves, discs in the cervical spine, ligaments or joint capsule injury.

If you have suffered a car accident in Hazelwood, Florissant, Black Jack, Ferguson, or anywhere in the Saint Louis metropolitan region and believe that you might be suffering from a whiplash injury, contact us at North County Pain Relief Center today! Call (314) 731-4201.