Winter Weather and Whiplash

The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and to reflect on everything we have to be grateful for.  Watching the snow fall is beautiful, but the weather outside can be frightening too!  Almost one hundred million Americans will be traveling this holiday season and one patch of ice or a moment of distraction can lead to a life altering car crash and months or years of pain.

Over a hundred thousand people are injured each year from auto accidents on icy, snowy, or slushy roads.  The truth is, accidents happen.  High speed accidents are notorious for life changing repercussions but you might be tempted to overlook the long term consequences of a low speed accident.  Just because your car looks fine does not mean your body has escaped damage as well.

A crash at five miles per hour can cause whiplash.  Whiplash occurs when the head jerks quickly, damaging the sensitive and important muscles and tendons of the neck and upper back.  An injury of this kind will show symptoms including pain and stiffness in the neck.  You may experience headaches, loss of hearing, and dizziness.  Tenderness, numbness and tingling in the shoulders, back, and arms are also possibilities.

Contacting your Chiropractor immediately after an accident is necessary not only to assess and address the injuries you have sustained, but to document those injuries so you have the information available for legal or insurance related disputes.  At North County Pain Relief Center we can perform on site x-rays to ensure that nothing is broken.

Snow and ice have the double drawback of decreased visibility and slippery roads.  Black ice is particularly dangerous because it can be almost indistinguishable from the surface of the asphalt.  Falling snow can make it very difficult to see and snow on the ground can reflect the sun almost painfully in a driver’s eyes.

Be sure to take precautions before you head out with the family this holiday season.  Buckle up and do not leave the driveway until every passenger is buckled as well.  You want to avoid sharply breaking in winter weather conditions, watch the roads far ahead so you can try to maintain a steady speed and avoid tapping your brakes if possible.  Be sure to take turns very slowly, you don’t want to skid into another car or into oncoming traffic.

Slow down in adverse conditions and make sure to leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.  Keep this in mind, especially in traffic jams.  It can be tempting to drive too closely to the person in front to avoid a stream of vehicles cutting in, but remember that even a slow speed accident can cause months or years of pain.

If, despite your care and caution, you are in an accident or someone hits your vehicle remember to call our office as quickly as possible.  Quickly assessing the damage and beginning treatment can reduce the amount of pain you have to endure.  You may also shorten your recovery time by prompt action!