Whiplash is the common term for the neck injury associated with a rear end collision. What a lot of people don’t know is that any auto accident from any direction can cause whiplash. The last motion of the head and neck is always forward, and this is where the damage occurs.
On x-ray we see an abnormal reversal of the normal arch in the neck and many times a curvature “scoliosis” in the neck all caused by the accident. If not corrected by a chiropractor, pinched nerves ensue, and osteoarthritis becomes a future problem in that patient’s neck.
Symptoms may be delayed months or even years. The reason is that when your neck is whipped the ligaments and disc that hold the vertebra together become stretched thereby allowing the vertebra to misalign. This misalignment called a “subluxation” occurs most commonly in the very top vertebra of the neck and the lower neck. If the subluxation is not irritating the nerves immediately after the trauma, the patients doesn’t have a lot of symptoms. Over time however the weight of the head keeps tilting the misalignment until one day the vertebra or disc pinches the nerves. That’s when pain comes on and osteoarthritis starts developing.
Chiropractic is imperative for any victim of a car accident to align the spine away from any pinched nerves. Once the vertebra is adjusted back into alignment, future pain and osteoarthritis is minimized.
An auto accident involves forces to our spine that are very unnatural. According to studies at USC and Yale University:
“Occupants of vehicles may be subjected to acceleration forces that are greater than the forces imparted to the struck vehicle itself.
At 8 mph the head and neck are exposed to forces 2 ½ times those of the vehicle itself. At higher speeds the head and neck may be exposed to 4 -10 times the car’s acceleration. This explains why occupants can sustain soft tissue injuries at relatively low impact speeds.”
Soft tissue injuries mean the stretching and tearing of supportive discs, ligaments and muscles.
In conclusion, if any of you, friends or family have recently had an auto accident, come in for a chiropractic checkup, even if you don’t have a lot of symptoms.
For those who are having problems from an old auto accident, chiropractic can still help and many times completely alleviate your symptoms. It just might take longer.
In good health,