Whiplash is one of the most common auto accident injuries, but there are many other ways in which this injury to the cervical spine can occur. When it does, studies show that Chiropractic care provides significant relief and long term healing results.
A whiplash injury occurs as the result of an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking movement of the head which causes an injury to the muscle, ligaments, tendons, and joints of the neck and back. This type of spinal injury most frequently occurs when a person is involved in an auto accident in which, the vehicle is struck in such a way as to cause the jerking motion of the head and neck to occur. However, this action can also occur while participating in a sporting event such as football, basketball or even baseball. It has also been known to occur while riding amusement park rides as well as the result of a significant fall.
What is actually injured with a whiplash injury?
Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury.
In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.
What does the research say about whiplash injuries?
The director of the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, Dr. Arthur Croft, says, “Nearly 1 out of 15 adult Americans suffers from the annoying and sometimes debilitating long-term effects of whiplash injury, usually in the form of neck stiffness and pain.” Fortunately, several studies regarding relief for whiplash injuries demonstrate Chiropractic’s effectiveness in offering a very high level of help. Here are the conclusions of four separate studies sited by the director of the Spine Research Institute:
- In a study published in Injury, 93% of 28 patients showed significant improvements following Chiropractic care. The protocol utilized to provide relief included spinal manipulation, stretching and ice therapy.
- A Study published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine concluded, “Whiplash injuries are common. Chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases.”
- Finally, two separate studies published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics confirm Chiropractic benefits. “For chronic spinal pain in general, when compared to traditional medical approaches, Chiropractic has generally been shown to be more effective.”
Practicing safe driving and using properly adjusted headrest restraints and seatbelts can go a long way to preventing whiplash accidents. Wearing the proper head gear in sporting activities, particularly for those playing a violent sport like football, can also help to prevent injury.
Ask your chiropractor what recommendations he or she can provide to keep your cervical spine in top condition and help you to avoid injury to the neck and back. Of course, should a whiplash injury occur, Chiropractic is the well established source of intervention and long-term relief.
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam