Whiplash (Car Accident) Injury
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash, or neck strain, are injuries to the soft tissues of the neck. Sudden backward and forward movement usually causes Whiplash injury and is often the result of rear-end car crashes. A severe whiplash injury can also include damage to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, nerve roots, and broken part of vertebra.
Some people experience pain right away while it may take others a few days. Symptoms of whiplash may include a stiff neck or radiate pain to shoulder and forearm, muscle and ligament injuries, headaches or dizziness, difficulty swallowing or chewing (TMJ Problem), hoarseness, burning or prickling, shoulder pain, and even back pain.
The symptoms of whiplash usually subside in 2 to 4 weeks. However, patients who continue to have symptoms despite treatment may find temporary relief by keeping the neck immobilized using a halter in the office or at home. This is referring to as cervical traction. Local anesthetic injections may also be helpful.
If symptoms continue or worsen after 6 to 8 weeks, further testing may be necessary to see if the patient suffered a more severe injury. Severe extension injuries like whiplash can damage the intervertebral discs. If this occurs, surgical repair of the discs may become necessary.
The neck consists of seven cervical vertebrae held together by muscles and ligaments, as well as joints enabling motion, and a system of nerves. The anatomy of the neck allows for a wide range of movement, which also makes it susceptible to a whiplash injury. As people age, their range of motion declines and muscles lose flexibility and strength, while ligaments lose some of their elasticity. This can make the effects of whiplash more severe for older people.
How can chiropractic help whiplash?
Your chiropractor is qualified to restore the health of your spine. Special chiropractic techniques relieve the pressure that is causing your neck pain. After locating the misaligned vertebrae in your body, chiropractor manually applies gentle pressure and repositions the vertebrae for neck pain relief. These adjustments can help restore alignment, improve mobility, and relieve neck pain and stiffness.
The physical and psychological damage of whiplash can become chronic, and deteriorate the victim's overall health. Chiropractic techniques and skills are target at neck pain relief associated with a whiplash injury. Chiropractors can also help to restore movement in the neck, overcome muscle weakness, and straighten the vertebra thus eliminating persistent problems.
Consistent chiropractic adjustments have proven to be beneficial to many victims of whiplash. When not treated properly whiplash victims see themselves as helpless. Chiropractic significantly reduces patient distress and allows them to return to normal activities.
A whiplash injury is the most common car accident injury with 80% of those involved in car accidents sustaining the painful neck injury. Whiplash is the motion of the head thrown forward (hyperflexion) and then backwards (hyperextension). A whiplash injury can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves, joints and discs in the neck and includes symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, headaches and dizziness.
Chest injuries were one of the most common fatal car accident injuries and led to the advent of the frontal airbag. During a car crash, the body is thrown forwards and when it meets the hard interior of the car, such as the steering wheel, the ribs can be fractured and the vital organs bruised or crushed. The airbag designed to protect the chest from such potentially fatal injuries.
When involved in a car accident you may sustain an open head injury if a piece of metal or glass causes an open wound. You may also experience a closed head injury, such as brain damage, if you bang your head on the windscreen in a car crash, which causes your brain to knock against the side of your inner skull. The severity of traumatic brain injuries are determined by the amount of physical, motor, cognitive, behavioural and psychological trauma sustained.
When a car comes to a sudden halt in a car accident, passenger injuries may be suffer when the front-seat passenger's knees hit the dashboard. The driver's knees may also be damage if the car does not have an airbag. Damage to the knees may include bruising, fractures or serious personal injury that has a long- term effect on mobility.
Just as the neck and upper back are jolted in a car accident and can lead to a whiplash injury, the lower back is also jerked about and can cause a lumbar back sprain or strain, which includes symptoms such as unbearable pain and muscle spasms. Serious personal injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, could be cause by bruising, compression, lacerations or specific damage to the corticospinal tracts in the cervical spinal cord area. Injuries such as this can cause severe nerve damage and even result in paralysis.