patient with whiplash

When whiplash injuries occur, the speed of the impact often has little correlation to the pain and symptoms. You may feel fine after a small impact in a car accident because whiplash injuries do not show up immediately. It is possible to be involved in a minor car accident and not know that you are suffering from whiplash until weeks after the initial collision. For these reasons it is important that you see a doctor of Chiropractic make sure you are not injured.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is most commonly used to describe injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. The sudden snapping motion of the unsupported head is what whiplash refers to. This is especially common in car accidents due to the fact that the seat belt holds the body in place while the head is forced into hyperflexion and extension.

Whiplash does not only occur in car accidents. It can also take place during sports such as hockey and football. An example of the whiplash injury occurring in football would be when the quarterback is getting ready to throw and is hit by a defensive lineman forcing the head into hyperextension just like a car accident. In hockey, the whiplash injury usually occurs when a skater is hit from behind. The problem in both examples is that even with all of the padding there is no protection that restricts head and neck movement. Because of this, the head and neck are susceptible to whiplash injuries similar to those suffered in car accidents.

Whiplash is known by the technical term of cervical acceleration or deceleration injury, or for short CAD. Our necks have ligaments, musculature, nerves, intervertebral disc, arteries, vessels, as well as bony structures. Because of the complex structure of the neck, there are many different ways for the whiplash injury to occur.

Symptoms of Whiplash

The two most common types of whiplash injury symptoms are pain and limited motion of the cervical spine, also known as the neck. Other common symptoms of whiplash are headache, numbness, impaired neck movement, radiating pain into the arms, hands, and fingers, low back pain, vertigo, ringing in the ears, nausea, jaw pain, pain between shoulder blades, disc herniations, loss of motion, and more.

Whiplash Treatment & Rehabilitation

Back To Action Chiropractic Center provides a series of chiropractic treatments to help you on your path to recovery after a whiplash injury. First, we relieve pain and inflammation through cervical spine adjustments and soft tissue mobilization. This portion of treatment requires patients to take a break from physical activity and allow the body to rest. Once the pain and inflammation involved with your whiplash injury are under control you will begin your rehabilitation. Your whiplash rehabilitation will include exercises for your upper extremities and neck. The treatments will be customized to meet the needs of your specific injury, as we understand there are many different ways that whiplash injuries can occur, and someone in a car accident will need different treatments than an athlete that suffered a sports injury.

hyperextension of neck

Causes of Whiplash

Forced Hyperextension – hyperextension refers to the bending of the neck backward, which can cause many different injuries. The anterior scalenes and the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) are the muscles that are usually strained during this type of whiplash injury. Ligament damage may also occur during forced hypertension whiplash injuries.

Neurological Damage – During a whiplash injury, the force of the brain's impact on the side of the skull may damage the cortex or cerebellum. Forced hyperflexion can cause pressure on the brain resulting in a concussion.

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