Whiplash: How it Can Affect Your Life
Whiplash is a sudden, unexpected back and forth neck movement. Usually you will see this type of movement in a car accident; however, you can also find this same type problem in sports like boxing, rugby, football, amusement park rides like roller coasters and from a slip or fall.
While sometimes difficult to diagnose, whiplash is a form of neck pain that can cause serious long term problems.
Neck Condition during Whiplash Injury
During a car accident/collision, passengers and the driver can get hurt and both can suffer from whiplash. The uncontrollable forceful and sudden whipping of the head stretches the neck beyond its’ normal range of motion. This over-stretching is what is mainly responsible for the neck pain and problems.
Here are the basics steps:
- First: As your neck moves suddenly downward, the cervical spine bends forward. It is during this time the normal curve of your neck is affected and is bent too far.
- Second: When your neck moves in the direction opposite to flexion, the lower neck bones begin to extend beyond their normal range creating an unnatural S-shaped spinal curve.
- Third: The cervical spine continues to extend beyond that curve further backward leading to a lot of neck pain.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Some common symptoms are:
- Neck stiffness
- Neck pain
Can You Reduce The Risk of Whiplash?
Whiplash during an accident is a very common occurrence. The best way to reduce the possibility of whiplash during a car accident is to keep your head against the headrest. This would limit your necks ability to extend beyond its’ normal range.
Unfortunately this is not really practical nor comfortable in most cars. However; if you can keep your head less than 3.5″ inches from the headrest then in a lot of cases you can reduce the effect of whiplash, neck injury and neck pain.
In addition, your potential for whiplash and further problems increases when your head is turned to the side, like when talking to a passenger. Keep your head forward and of course your eyes on the road while driving.
Speed is not as an important factor during a car accident when it comes to whiplash. Less of a gap distance between your head and the headrest is one of the main deciding factors of how much your neck can extend beyond its’ normal range.
Symptoms of whiplash are also not always immediately seen. A soft tissue sprain or strain like whiplash is the main cause of neck pain. Since this can be just a soft-tissue problem, x-rays and possibly even MRI’s may not immediately show the damage.
After a car accident, or any accident, fall or game that causes an unexpected quick back and forth movement of the neck should be looked at as soon as possible. Chiropractors are uniquely suited to help you in this situation since their job as Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) is to keep your spine (which includes your neck) in the proper alignment.
If you have neck pain or back pain, consider Central Street Chiropractic. Dr. Paul Daigle has been helping people just like you restore their mobility, functionality and has been keeping his patients healthy for over 28 years. Checkout their whiplash treatment in Lowell options today, you will be glad you did.