In today’s busy world we and others around us can easily be distracted. When we are distracted we have no present time consciousness and this can lead to accidents caused or experienced. The impact often involves a sharp or sudden jolt in which our body, neck and head are not prepared for. These distractions can also be the start of not only neck pain but the beginning of a degenerative process that may not manifest until years later.
In these types of accidents the most common injury suffered is often described as Whiplash. Car accidents are most frequently associated with causing whiplash injuries, however, this action can also be simply as a result of a fall.
A whiplash injury occurs when there is an abrupt backward or forward jerking motion of the head which causes an injury to the neck where the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged. These cervical spinal injuries most frequently result when a person is struck in such a way as to cause the jerking motion of the head and neck to occur. Whiplash is then characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck.
People who experience whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Low back pain
- Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue
It should be remembered that the effects of whiplash may take weeks or months to fully manifest, thus it cannot be assumed that no problems exist just because no symptoms are felt immediately following the accident. These symptoms should always be taken seriously no matter how insignificant they may at first appear due to the areas which are affected.
If you are not very careful, a whiplash injury may end up causing permanent damage when it is not noticed or its effect is underestimated. Around 50% of whiplash victims are still suffering the effects of their whiplash years later.
Statistics on Whiplash Injury
Nearly 1 out of 15 adult Americans suffers from the annoying and sometimes debilitating long-term effects of a whiplash injury, usually in the form of neck stiffness and pain. Fortunately, Chiropractic offers a very high level of help regarding relief for whiplash. Here are the conclusions of 4 separate studies cited:
- In a study published in Injury, 93 percent of 28 patients showed significant improvements following Chiropractic care. The help protocol utilized included spinal manipulation, stretching and ice therapy.
- Study results published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine showed similar findings. “Whiplash injuries are common. Chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases,” researchers said in their study conclusions.
- Finally, two separate studies published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiology and Therapy confirm Chiropractic benefits. “For chronic spinal pain in general, when compared to traditional medical approaches, Chiropractic has generally been shown to be more effective.”
Use Your Head!
Whiplash is a common injury that can occur in our current lifestyles. Practicing safe driving and using properly adjusted headrest restraints and seat-belts can go a long way to preventing whiplash accidents. Also, wearing the proper head gear in sporting activities, particularly for those playing a violent sport like football, can also help to prevent injury. But when painful blows to the cervical spine occur be smart and have a professional evaluation by a spinal specialist – a Chiropractor. Studies confirm that Chiropractic can provide significant help and long-term healing results.
Please ask our expert chiropractic and rehabilitation team what recommendations they would advise to help restore health and function and how to keep your cervical spine in tip-top condition.
For Your Health,
Dr. Salvatore Minicozzi