If you’ve been involved in an auto accident or collision in Salt Lake City or the surrounding area you know that it can be a traumatizing event both to your psychological health as well as your physical health. Many people experiencing pain and suffering immediately following a car crash and other have their symptoms show up a few weeks or even a few months down the road. You may experience anything from headaches, neck and low back pain, shoulder pain, radiating pain down the arm, dizziness, inability to concentrate, sleep disturbances, fogginess or maybe just tight or sore muscles with a loss of range of motion. Whatever your symptoms may be, they are not the problem but rather your body telling you that there IS a problem.
What is the problem?? A whiplash injury is defined by The National Institutes of Health as “an injury resulting from a sudden sharp whipping movement of the neck and head (as of a person in a vehicle that is struck head-on or from the rear by another vehicle)”.
Many underlying structures, both soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs) and harder osseous tissue (bones) are at risk during a collision. Common injuries sustained in whiplash are sprains/strains of the soft tissue, buckling of ligaments, disc herniations or even fractures.
A common misconception of car accidents and whiplash is that ” if you weren’t going going fast enough to cause damage to your car then there is no injury sustained to the head, neck or other bodily structures.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many articles written that demonstrate that rear impact even at low speed causes shearing forces with neck extension that ultimately end up as whiplash. Those at greater risk are going to be individuals with smaller heads and less neck musculature…….particularly women and kids.
Another point to consider is the shape of the neck curve. Cervical lordosis or neck curvature has been researched at great lengths and research shows that the better/healthier the curve in the neck is, the better and more efficient it is at preventing serious injury and tissue damage in the case of a whiplash type injury. If your neck curve is reduced, straightened or reversed, you are at a higher risk in sustaining greater injuries in a motor vehicle collision.
The last point we want to mention is that car wreck’s and whiplash injuries can and do damage the curve in the neck. Evidence show’s that on average, patients that are involved in a car accident lose 10 degrees of their normal neck curve. This is very important because even though there may be absence of pain now, the injuries and underlying trauma from the crash are setting the stage for poor biomechanics and eventually early degeneration.
If you, your family or friends have been involved in an auto accident it is important that you get in and get evaluated by your chiropractor. It is important because things are viewed and analyzed differently.