whiplash

What is whiplash?

Whiplash refers to any impact to your head and neck that causes it to jerk forward or backward causing neck strain. The impact and sudden nature of the force can stretch and tear muscles and tendons in your neck.

Whiplash most commonly occurs from a car accident but may also occur from contact sports.

What happens in a whiplash injury?

In a motor vehicle accident (depending on if your car collided at the front or rear) the neck and head are forced backwards into the head rest as the vehicle is moved forward. This backwards force produces the most damage to the surrounding soft tissue of the neck.

As the neck and head are forced backwards they then rebound off the head rest and whip forward into neck flexion.

The facet joint of the spine is the most common area for chronic neck pain after whiplash. It accounts for at least 50% of cases, and up to 80% of patients involved in high-speed collisions. The segmental levels of the neck vertebrae commonly affected are C2/3 and C5/6.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

  • Pain with decreased movement of the neck and associated tightness in neck muscles.
  • Pain with rocking your head forward and backwards or side to side.
  • Pain or stiffness when turning your head to look over your shoulder.
  • Neck tenderness.
  • Headaches at the base of your skull which radiate towards your forehead.

How long does it take for whiplash injuries to show?

Symptoms may take several hours or days to appear after the whiplash injury, though sometimes they can be immediate. Depending on the mechanism of the whiplash injury, symptoms may not appear straight away. During a consultation the Chiropractor will ask you about previous accidents to determine the potential cause of your presenting symptoms. Further questioning allows us to gather important information about your case thus allowing us to make an informed decision on potential care options.

What can we do?

Our approach to your whiplash injury is to first perform a thorough consultation, obtaining relevant history relating to your symptom profile which may have been the trigger for your symptoms. After this we perform an examination to obtain clinical information, from there we will explain to you if we believe chiropractic care could be of benefit to you. There is evidence to support the use of mobilisation of the cervical spine for whiplash type injury.

If so, we utilise specific and gentle chiropractic adjustment techniques to help allow proper spinal function.

 

References

Whiplash The Evidence for an Organic Etiology Nikolai Bogduk, MD, PhD, DSc; Robert Teasell, MD, FRCPC Author Affiliations Arch Neurol. 2000;57(4):590-591. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.4.5902

 

Gross, A.R.,etal., Manipulation and mobilisation for mechanical neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev,2004.(1):p. CD004249.

 

We are excited to have you as a patient at Sims & Finn Chiropractic

Our goal is to assess you thoroughly to determine if you have a structural shift in your spine causing secondary condition (symptoms).
We then explain and provide you with care options. We customise a plan of care for you, taking into consideration your age, health and lifestyle factors.
Once we have worked together to create the necessary health improvements, we will assist you in choices to maintain the corrections you have achieved.

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