Whiplash is a common injury when it comes to auto accidents. Chiropractic adjustments can help relieve the pain – which sometimes does not show up for a few days after your car collision.
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Hello, it’s Dr. Troy here. The Vancouver, Washington auto accident chiropractor.
Today I want to talk about whiplash.
A lot of patients experience collisions. In Clark County alone, there are between 300 and 500 collisions per month. So there are a lot of people getting into accident and getting injured. A lot of people don’t know what to do. They may go to the ER, the hospital or urgent care center immediately following the collision.
A lot of times people have a delayed onset, their symptoms will show up 2-3 days later. I would like to explain how that is possible. How could you walk away from an accident? If you got rear ended for example or you rear ended somebody else and you go, why does my neck hurt 3 day later?
What Is Whiplash?
You’re sitting at a traffic light for example; this is the side view of the neck, this is the back of the skull. What happens is, you have the 12-14 pound bowling ball sitting on broom lets say and it’s all supported by soft tissue like muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs.
So what happens is, you are in a stationary position, you get hit and your head is thrown forward while your body is locked into the seat and the tissues in the back of the spine, the muscles, ligaments are stretched. This causes the capillaries to get damaged.
Depending on the level of injury, the more severe the impact the more tearing of the soft tissue. When the capillaries get damaged they will bleed up to 72 hours. That means you are going to get microscopic swelling that continues to enhance 48-72 hours and that is why a lot of our patients who come in who say, I don’t know it was the second or third day and I can’t move my neck or my back.
So, your head gets thrown forward, the soft tissues in the rear get over stretched or damaged and when the car comes to a stop from whatever you hit now you get thrown backwards so now the soft tissue gets damaged in the front. Some of the researchers call this cervical acceleration and then deceleration. So you go forward real fast and back real fast also known as whiplash. It could be very painful and one of the other things that can make it even more severe is if your head is turned and you get hit. There is a correlation with positioning of your head in an impact on how severe the damage can be.
Symptoms Of Whiplash
Some people report that they feel neck pain and soreness right away but a lot of cases report a delayed onset in the second and third day. So if you were taken to the hospital immediately or if you followed up with urgent care many times they want to make sure there are no broken bones, no internal bleeding and no damage that is life threatening. If it’s soft tissue, typically they’re not going to do much to address those soft tissue issues. They might send you on your way with a prescription for painkillers,muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory’s. A lot of times images aren’t even done, x-rays,CAT scans, CT’s, MRI’s, those aren’t done because it’s not warranted it’s not a life threatening condition.
So here you are a couple of days later with chronic neck pain, maybe headaches, dizziness is a very very common thing we see which responds really well to chiropractic care and I’ll explain how that works in just a minute. Back pain, numbness, tingling could actually indicate that you have a more substantial injury with disc or the nerve roots. Those are all things that we can evaluate you for, diagnose you for and potentially treat you for and get you better. Many of our car collision patients respond well.
The Joints get overstretched and now what we have found is that if the joints are overstretched and you ar swollen you are going to heal like that, you are going to heal out of balance and you are going to heal locked up.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help?
The whole purpose of chiropractic and even massage with some of the rehab that we do is to get those joints moving. You’re going to heal, no matter what, you are going to heal. Do you want to heal wrong or do you want to heal with proper motion?
Research shows anywhere from 8-16 weeks is what it takes for the average ligament to heal, that is if you do everything perfect. There are a lot of limiting factors here, you could even get delayed onset symptoms. We had a patient who four months later came in and said ever since that collision they just started noticing their shoulder started to bother them.
So you can see hormonal issues, energy issues. In children, we see a lot of children, we’ll ask the parents because a one year old can’t say hey mom i’m getting headaches but they might be fussy or have a loss of appetite, loss of sleep, energy, they might be moody. These are just some of the things that we have found over the years that correlate with injury to the spine, spinal cords, nerves and soft tissue.
So, chiropractic works by gently applying forces and pressure to get these joints that are locked up moving so that you function better, feel better, and you heal to the best of your ability.
One thing on conclusion of care with patients, a lot of times we will do a motion x ray analysis which checks for ligament stability or ligament instability and we can correlate that with ligament damage and that can help a lot of people, especially if they are ina settlement situation and they may be predisposed to chronic long term problems due to car accidents.
Let’s face it, injuries can sometimes leave some permanent issues and our job is to document that to the best of our ability so that you can be properly taken care of if it was a collision that wasn’t your fault and also to see where you are, how stable you are.
So, if you’re interested in coming in and getting checked out call our office (360) 260-6903. Any of our doctors at Zenaptic Chiropractic Vancouver Auto Accident Center would be happy to serve you and get you well.
This is Dr. Troy the Vancouver chiropractor taking care of auto collisions.