10 Things You Should Know If You've Had A Whiplash Injury:

What is a "whiplash injury"? The term has been around for a long time and is typically associated with car accidents. Whiplash injuries however, can occur in a number of ways. "Whiplash" happens when your body is pushed forward under your head and your neck is bent backwards. The force of this movement causes your head to snap forward in an effort to catch up with the rest of your body. This extension (bending backwards) and flexion (bending forward) happens extremely fast, sometimes as fast as 400 milliseconds. This quick forward and back motion tears the tissues of your neck, leaving you with a whiplash injury.

  1. Whiplash injuries are caused by several things:
    • Auto accidents (typically an impact from behind)
    • Slips and falls
    • Sports injuries and impacts
    • Everyday horsing around
  2. In auto accident cases, a little more than half of all recorded whiplash injuries happen at 6-12 mph! (This is well below the speed of impact that will visibly show damage to your vehicle.)
  3. Certain factors must be considered in order to determine your body's ability to heal from your whiplash injury.
    • Do you have prior injuries to the upper back and neck?
    • Do you typically suffer from headaches or neck pain?
    • Do you have arthritis, osteoporosis, or degenerative disc disease?
  4. You should ask yourself these questions.
    • Was my head restraint at the proper height for me?
    • Did I see the accident about to happen and brace myself?
    • Was my head turned?
    • Was I the driver or passenger?
    • Was wearing my seat belt? Was it a shoulder harness?
    • Was I a passenger with a shoulder harness?
  5. Whiplash causes many symptoms such as immediate loss of motion, neck pain, and headaches.
    Other symptoms are:
    • Fatigue
    • Sore throat
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Shoulder pain
    • Pain between the shoulder blades
    • Jaw pain
    • Anxiety
    • Low back pain
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Impaired concentration
    • Shortness of temper with family and friends
    • Forgetfulness
    • You may also experience referred pain:
      • Pain on the underside of the arm that may extend to the little finger and ring finger.
      • Pain to the shoulder or even up into your face
  6. Your body will go through several phases after a whiplash injury
    • Swelling and pain
    • Muscle spasm and pain
    • Loss of motion and pain
    • Increased motion at other locations
    You are now in a cycle of swelling - muscle spasm - loss of motion (This cycle must be broken)
  7. Healing starts immediately after an injury. The entire injury healing process is a complex series of events that begins at the moment of injury and can continue for months to years.
  8. Untreated whiplash injuries can be the root of more severe health problems down the road such as:
    • DDD (degenerative disc disease)
    • Bone spurs, calcium deposition
    • Joint immobilization and joint fusion
    • Atrophy of the nerve tissue
  9. Females are more prone to whiplash injuries. This has to do with a female's body mass.
  10. What now. It may be right after your accident or it may be years later. If you're reading this you are interested in making a change. Call my office and I will personally evaluate you, and give you a written report of my findings. No commitment necessary. I'll tell you what's wrong and what can be done for your injuries. I'll tell you whether you should use ice or heat. What exercise you can do to speed your recovery and lessen the chances of permanent damage.

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