AUTO ACCIDENTS – WHIPLASH INJURY
CRASH!!! Auto Accidents happen in seconds and the effects can last for years. The pain you feel is an electrical signal from the nerves to the brain like a light bulb uses electricity to create light. Whiplash occurs when the head moves in an uncontrolled way in many possible directions and then causes pain and injury. Once the tissue swelling and inflammation enters various tissues the body interprets the pain and sends a signal to the brain. Injuries involving a whiplash involve primarily the joints (facets) and the disc (annulus). Many headaches are not headaches at all, but really a pain in the neck following a motor vehicle collision. One type of misconception about injured soft tissue is that it will heal in a time frame of one to two months, or that it will heal spontaneously, or that there will be no long term damage, and that no treatment is required. This can be very misleading to the patient and the doctor alike. Chiropractic can help with whiplash, pain relief, and correction of the injury.
Whiplash is commonly associated with a whipping of the neck, but it can happen along the entire spine, showing a multitude of symptoms. There are seven moving vertebrae in the neck, each performing its specific function. The upper three nerves that exit through the cervical spine innervate the head and injury there may cause headaches. The lower vertebrae of the neck primarily allow the spine to move forward and backwards directions. This is the area that tends to get the most arthritis. The middle back has 12 vertebrae and includes the rib cage as well as the shoulder blades. Maybe patients have mid-back pain due to whiplash. The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae and is frequently overlooked as an injured area due to the distance from the neck. However, seatbelts can injure the breast, chest, mid-back and or low back areas. Whiplash is not something to be ignored!
There are several tissues that could be injured also. Ligaments, articular capsules, muscles, and tendons are some. Injuries to these areas are called soft-tissue injuries. Between each vertebrae are disks that are made up of cartilage on the outside and a liquid-like center that acts as a shock absorber. Injuries such as tears, cracks, and/or fissures can cause the liquid center to migrate through and rupture. Nerve root injuries are most commonly pinched or compressed by a “ruptured” disk and send pain, numbness, and/or weakness into the arm and/or hand. Chiropractic adjustments concentrate a great deal on restoring function to these areas. Chiropractors are in an excellent position to treat and manage whiplash injured patients based on the type of care we perform and offer. We promote exercise of muscles and joints, encourage activity not rest, and minimize dependence on medication, collars and other negative treatment approaches. Pain relief and injury correction can occur with chiropractic care after a whiplash injury!
Often overlooked after whiplash injuries by both patients and doctors are exercises. Exercises can help with coordination and balance addressing dizziness, headaches and other post-whiplash symptoms. The exercise works on the wiring or what we call the neuropathways of our nervous system allowing the information to flow from our brain, spinal cord and various parts of our body. This is what allows us to function in all of our desired daily activities. We can train you to do these exercises until you feel comfortable doing these on your own.