Today I wanted to look at the condition known as whiplash. Did you know that car accidents are the largest single contributor to chronic neck and back pain?
Injuries from car accidents can result in a substantial level of disablement even following a rear-end collision that seemed relatively minor at the time of the crash.
One of the most frequent injuries associated with car accidents is whiplash. Many people associate whiplash injuries solely with car accidents. But did you know that playing football or rugby, taking a nasty fall, or even a violent sneeze can produce a whiplash injury?
So what is whiplash?
Whiplash is a condition which may affect the joints of the spine, the muscles and tendons as well as the discs. Symptoms associated with whiplash include: restriction in neck movement, neck stiffness, pain or discomfort, soreness at the front of the neck, headaches, muscle tightness, inability to concentrate or memory loss, ‘pins and needles’ in the hands or fingers, numbness in the extremities and even difficulty sleeping. Also, more than 50% of whiplash injuries result in trauma to the lower back.
Despite these obvious symptoms whiplash injuries in some cases can be so minor that initially you may not even be aware that you are injured. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated whiplash can lead to altered mechanics of the neck and early degeneration or arthritis.
So even if you feel OK after an accident, with no obvious symptoms, you should still have a thorough examination by a chiropractor as soon as possible, as symptoms can be delayed for days and in some cases may not surface for many years.
Whiplash is often given low priority in the hospital emergency room unless neck injury is readily apparent and patients express feelings of pain or discomfort. In fact, whiplash injury is frequently overlooked by the family practitioner or emergency room doctor and their focus will be on the possibility of fractures, dislocations, head trauma or other very serious conditions. While these are very important conditions to investigate no less important is the condition of whiplash.
This delay in symptoms and the long-term consequences make it very important to get a chiropractic examination soon after any accident where there has been trauma to the neck.
In fact there is an ever increasing volume of research which supports the chiropractic approach in the management of whiplash.
Pass this news on to those who you think have had whiplash, they will thank you for it.