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Oct 9

Whiplash

Crash!  The impact from behind drives your car forward, and your body along with it, while your head is suspended in space above the headrest.  Within milliseconds, your body’s forward momentum causes your head to “whip” to catch up, resulting in a sprain/strain injury to the muscles and ligaments, and placing tremendous force on the bones, joints, and discs of the cervical spine.

This is classic whiplash and can occur even in low speed accidents or “fender benders”.  What’s more, a whiplash effect to the neck can occur even in the absence of an auto accident.  A blow to the head, a slip and fall accident, sports injuries…anything that creates a sudden, impactful force to the head and neck, or wrenches the body such that the cervical spine is traumatized, can potentially result in a whiplash injury.

Symptoms associated with whiplash accidents can include headaches, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, numbness and tingling into the arms, loss of sleep, and anxiety.  Secondary symptoms can develop into the mid back and even into the lumbar spine.

While the acute pain and soreness associated with whiplash can gradually pass in a few weeks time as inflammation subsides, the resulting subluxation pattern and structural damage can last a lifetime if not addressed promptly and correctly.

When spinal bones and joints lose their natural position they not only have the potential to choke off vital nerve impulses from the brain to the body, but they are now also a weak link in the spine that can perpetuate further injuries, accelerate spinal decay, and induce disc disease.

Whiplash is typically identified on x-rays as a reversal of the neck’s natural forward curvature.  In cases in which this structural damage occurred years prior, the reversed curve is usually accompanied by obvious degenerative changes such as bone spurs and disc thinning.

The standard post-injury ER regimen of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers does nothing to address the physical and neurological damage incurred by whiplash injuries.

The body can occasionally “self-correct” or find its natural balance when facing minor spinal misalignments resulting from simple daily activities.  However, this is rarely the case when it comes to whiplash.  Therefore it is imperative that you have your spine checked as soon as possible after any injury that you suspect may have resulted in whiplash.