Crashes & Whiplash
Car crashes, collisions, and minor fendor benders are the major causes of whiplash. The ill effects of a whiplash injury can occur instantly or it could be weeks, months or even years before symptoms occur. Injuries to the neck caused by a sudden movement (head forward, back, or sideways) is commonly referred to as “whiplash” or “acceleration/deceleration injuries”. Literally thousands of pounds of force is exerted upon the neck and spine of the whiplash victim. These forces result in tearing of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and in turn, can result in a displacement of the vertebrae of the spine (subluxation) which is a dysfunctional joint causing nerve irritation (pinched spinal nerves). The results of such injuries can cause neck pain, shoulder and arm pain or numbness, elbow and hand pain or numbness, mid back pain, headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision. The injured areas lose the ability to function and loss of range of motion (stiffness) occurs. The body attempts of adapt and symptoms can appear anywhere from the instant the injury occured until weeks or even months later.
Pain, Why Me?
Pain is an indicator that a problem within are bodies exists. Without pain our bodies could not tell us that there is an injury and that there is something wrong. Usually the absence of pain and swelling after injury is an exceedingly poor indicator of healing tissue. Most minor to moderate whiplash injuries are overlooked by the patient, the hospital, and even the patient’s familiy medical provider due to the lack of inital pain. One week up to 2 months after the injury, the patient continues to have pain or the pain worsens, is when most people begin to realize that the injury is much worse then they had imagined.
Effects of Improper Treatment!
Improper treatment of whiplash injuries and all soft tissue injuries is a factor in about 50% of the patient’s that finally present themselves to our clinic. Some patients are given a soft cervical collar by there medical doctor. If this collar is worn too long, the collar itself can further weaken supportive muscles and actually lengthen recovery time. If a muscle, ligament, tendon, or joint is subject to prolonged immobilization after injury or surgery this can have significant and profound negative effects. If a fracture is present the patient is to be first seen by Neuro-surgeon to rule out spinal cord injury and will more than likely have to where a special collar/halo until the fracture is healed. Once the fractured vertebrae is healed the patient should be sent to a chiropractor to minimize the negative affects of the prolonged immobilization of the soft tissues.
Chiropractic treatment is the most appropriate approach to these types of injuries. Chiropractic care utilizes specific spinal adjustments to help normalize spinal function. This is crucial in the beginning phases of healing to bring back proper motion, but return of functional joint motion usually requires 2-3 months of chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is also crucial in allowing the body to heal properly. The care allows the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) to heal most effectively with minimal scar tissue.
What Should I Do, If I’m In a Car Accident?
1. STOP – DO NOT OBSTRUCT TRAFFIC
2. ASSIST THE INJURED
3. PROTECT THE SCENE – TO PREVENT FURTHER INJURY
4. CALL AN OFFICER – LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT
5. KEEP NOTES – STRICTLY TO YOURSELF
6. ASSIST THE OFFICER – GIVE BASIC FACTS
7. IDENTIFY THE OTHER DRIVER
8. OBTAIN WITNESSES INFORMATION
9. ARREST DOES NOT INDICATE LIABILITY
10. DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE UNTIL DOING THE PAST 9 THINGS
11. SEE A CHIROPRACTOR AND PHYSICAL THERAPIST
12. OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL (GET AN ATTORNEY)
13. INFORM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY