Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you are wondering why whiplash is a common side effect of being involved in an auto accident where the car in which you are riding is struck from behind, take a moment to think about your neck, and what it is expected to do every day.
What is Whiplash and Why Does It Strike the Neck?
Also referred to as the cervical spine, the neck consists of only seven vertebrae yet it holds up your head. On average, human heads weigh about twelve pounds. Not only are these seven small vertebrae strong enough to support the head, they can extend it frontward, backward, or turn it in any direction in the blink of an eye. But alas, the amazing biomechanics of the neck are also its downfall when it comes to whiplash.
The injury known as whiplash occurs when the force of one car striking another is absorbed by the neck, which responds by snapping forward than backward in an arc beyond its normal range of amazing flexibility. As a result of this spinal hyperextension, vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments suffer trauma, and headaches, neck pain, stiffness in the neck area, and dizziness may be felt, if not immediately, within a few days. Some cases of whiplash are severe, resulting in
- Joint Dysfunction in which one or more joints lose their resiliency and shock absorbency, resulting in pain and restricted range of motion.
- Disc Herniation caused by small rips or tears that allow the inner core of the shock absorbing discs separating one vertebra from the next to extrude out from its outer layers. Should this inner material touch and irritate an adjacent spinal nerve root, it results in sharp pains shooting down the arm, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
- Chronic Neck Pain
- Difficulty in Concentrating and other difficulties in mental functioning
How Does a Charlotte Chiropractor Treat Whiplash?
As you can imagine, each case of whiplash is different, so a chiropractor will first evaluate the patient's condition before prescribing treatment.
- The most prevalent whiplash treatment starts with addressing the affected joint with spinal manipulation. Also known as chiropractic adjustment, he will move the affected joint in the direction of its restriction. Depending on his technique of preference, he may employ either a short thrust or a slow mobilizing movement.
- Next he will turn to muscle dysfunction, using relaxation techniques in some instances, and stimulation in others. His goal is to stretch muscles and deal with the repeated contractions that keep them stiff.
- Once improvement is seen, he will prescribe exercises to train the nervous system to better control and coordinate movement patterns and restore stability by strengthening the neck muscles.
- Since many patients are hesitant less they suffer a setback, the chiropractor may offer lifestyle suggestions on how they can go about everyday activities with minimal strain while addressing factors in the home or workplace that pose a potential for perpetuating dysfunction.
To learn how Charlotte Health Center addresses cases of whiplash, contact us today!
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