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Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is not a disease like arthritis or high blood pressure but a description of how an injury occurred. When a person suffers a whiplash injury, their spine, usually their neck, was hurt by being thrown around in a certain manner.
Whiplash Mechanism

crash Whiplash InjuryWhiplash usually occurs when the head and neck are unexpectedly or suddenly thrown very quickly in one direction and then rebound in the opposite. You might say the head is “whipped around” on the neck. In a motor rear-end injury the first thing that occurs is the body is thrown forwards but the head is forced backwards and the neck is hyper extended. A whiplash can also result from the sudden stopping of a car where the body remains fairly in place but the head and neck are thrown forwards into hyper flexion.

In almost all whiplash type injuries there is a certain amount of hyper flexion and hyperextension. That is because the muscles react to the initial injury by pulling or rebounding in the opposite direction. The rebound can and often does cause injury. (A whiplash injury can also result from side to side motion of the neck, also called left and right lateral hyper flexion). There is more to whiplash than hyper-flexion and hyperextension. Usually the head is rotated a slight bit, either to the right or left when an accident occurs and this complicates the effects of the injury.
Degrees of Whiplash

All whiplash injuries are a little different because there are so many things that change from accident to accident: how the driver was facing, his/her age, amount of warning or state of preparedness, the health of their bones, muscles, ligaments and discs, the direction of the impact, and the speeds and vehicle types involved.

Unfortunately wearing a seat belt has little effect on whiplash injury protection. Headrests, however, which are fairly standard these days do offer some protection in the hyperextension aspect of the injury.

A whiplash type injury doesn’t only occur in car accidents. Whiplash injuries may occur as a result of sudden forces to the body as in contact sports like football and falls, direct trauma to the skull or even a sudden forceful sneeze.
In Most Cases

In the vast majority of whiplash injuries the damage is to the neck’s ligaments, tendons, muscles and vertebral alignment. When the vertebrae are misaligned, the nerves that travel between them may be “trapped”.
Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms may start as neck soreness or stiffness, perhaps accompanied by a headache immediately or within a few hours of the accident. Along with these symptoms there may be pain and/or numbness, tingling, or a pins and needles feeling between the shoulder blades, arm and hand. Some people may experience ear ringing, dizziness, or hearing loss. Sometimes the eyes can be affected and there may be pain behind the eyeballs, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or other visual symptoms. Occasionally, there may be tearing or running of the nose.
Medical Care?

In most whiplash accidents, medical care falls short. Too often many people who have experienced a whiplash injury do little more than live on pain killers, muscle relaxants and various therapies including surgery. They need to know that in many cases a visit to the chiropractor may totally eliminate the problem safely, quickly and without drugs or surgery.
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash Victims

Any kind of accident or trauma may (and usually does) cause spinal subluxations. In other words the vertebrae are out of proper alignment and are “pinching” or more accurately, “impinging” or interfering with nerves. Often this is a painless condition but in whiplash type injuries to the neck, the vertebral misalignments, because of the neck anatomy, are often quite painful. No amount of pain killers, muscle relaxants, sedatives or physical therapy can realign the vertebrae and relieve the nervous system and skeletal system from pressure. What is needed is the chiropractic art: the spinal adjustment which realigns the spinal column safely and easily.

Old Whiplash?

Some people may have had a whiplash in the past but now feel pretty good, do they need to see a chiropractor? Yes. The spine may still be structurally unsound. Many times people develop arthritis and disc problems years after the accident because they never got a chiropractor to check and adjust their spine. Without structural integrity the spine will not heal properly. Arthritis will develop prematurely and the spine will ultimately have problems.

For more information about Dr. Burkholder’s post graduate training go to: www.SRISD.com