Whiplash Disorders – What Should I Do?

How Do Chiropractors Treat Whiplash Disorders?

Whiplash DisordersA whiplash disorders are the fact that the severity of an initial injury is not necessarily related to extent of symptoms, where a low-speed auto accident or fairly light head trauma can result in significant symptoms, where higher forces may result in lesser symptoms. The whiplash disorders are associated with huge costs for society.

Whiplash disorders are classified according to the severity of symptoms and presence of musculoskeletal and neurologic signs. Whiplash disorders are a source of chronic pain and suffering for millions of people each year. Whiplash can be described as a sudden strain to the muscles, bones, and nerves in the neck and less commonly.A whiplash disorders can occur after a sporting injury, or even with everyday activities such as jolting the neck when you trip or fall.

Whiplash: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Whiplash, or WAD (whiplash-associated disorders) refers to a series of neck injuries caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck – hyperextension (over-extension) injury to the neck. In many cases whiplash is the result of being struck from behind, for example, by a fast moving vehicle in an automobile accident.In a typical case the victim’s body is initially pushed or accelerated forward while the head remains behind for an instant, making the head rock up and back, stretching and/or tearing some muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The muscles react automatically (reflex motion) to bring the heard forward – sometimes this is overdone and the head may rock forward violently, further stretching and/or tearing muscles, tendons and ligaments. Tendons are tissues by which muscles attach to bone. Tendons are flexible, fibrous and tough. Like ligaments, tendons are tough flexible cords. Ligaments go from bone-to-bone while tendons go from muscle-to-bone.

Although tendons and ligaments are tough, they are known as soft tissue (because they are usually compared to bone or cartilage).Most people associate whiplash with one vehicle being hit in the rear by another vehicle – the driver in front sustains the whiplash. However, the impact can come from any direction and the head may move backwards or sideways, not only forwards initially. Whiplash injury may also be sustained in various ways, such as from falling off a bicycle or a horse. Read more here.

Whiplash disorders are a sureness of nonstop cause discomfort and hardship for millions of general public each year.

Causes of Whiplash

Most simply described, whiplash is caused by a motion or force that makes your neck move beyond its normal range of motion. As you can learn in the Anatomy of Whiplash article, your neck, or cervical spine, has an incredible range of motion. It’s the most moveable part of your spine, but still, whiplash can cause the neck to go beyond its normal range.

There’s one major cause of whiplash that most everyone thinks of immediately: car accidents. Even speeds as low as 15 mph can produce enough energy to cause whiplash—whether or not you are wearing a seatbelt. (However, if you are not properly restrained with your seatbelt, your head may strike the steering wheel or windshield, causing a concussion in addition to whiplash. You should definitely always wear your seatbelt.)

An 8 mph car collision produces two times the force of gravity (or a 2-G) deceleration of the car, and a 5-G deceleration of the head. This unnatural and forceful movement affects the muscles and ligaments in the neck, stretching and potentially tearing them. The discs between the vertebrae can bulge, tear, or rupture, and vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing your range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots can get stretched, irritated, and “choked.” See more here.

Whiplash disorders will often get better within a few weeks or months, but for some people, it can last longer and severely limit their activities.

Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash

Because each individual case of whiplash is different, it is not possible to generalize about the chiropractic whiplash treatment. The appropriate chiropractic treatment is unique to each whiplash injury and is directed at the primary dysfunctions detected during the chiropractic exam. However, chiropractors commonly employ different chiropractic treatments for whiplash, often including:

  • Manipulation
  • Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
  • Various exercises
  • Ergonomic and lifestyle changes.

Chiropractic Manipulation for Whiplash
The primary whiplash treatment for joint dysfunction, spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor gently moving the involved joint into the direction in which it is restricted. Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, spinal manipulation may involve the application of a short thrust in that direction. In many cases, instead of a thrust, a slow mobilizing movement is used by the chiropractor.

Muscle Relaxation or Stimulation as Whiplash Treatments
The chiropractor’s primary whiplash treatment for related muscle dysfunction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited. Read full article here.

A Whiplash Disorders Need To Be Treated Immediately

Whiplash disorders can also include injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve of the neck or upper back.  Anyone who has suffered whiplash disorders will know how painful and debilitating it can be and in some cases, there can be permanent damage to muscles and ligaments leading to long-term pain and suffering. Unfortunately, most treatments of whiplash disorders have not been well tested to determine their effectiveness.

We hope that whiplash disorders can one day be eliminated totally, many of our legal team have the first-hand experience of the pain of whiplash and as cars improve and roads are safer we can already see that whiplash claims are declining. Many sufferers of whiplash disorders have been known to experience the symptoms over a longer period which can last up to two years or more. Therefore it is important that one pay attention to any physical pain they may experience in their neck following an accident. For more information, you may reach us here: (619) 831-8777.

Related Articles::
Car Accident – Approved Treatment Protocols
Chronic Whiplash Pain – At Home Care

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Author: Allison Yardley

Allison has 6 years in practice as a Chiropractor's Assistant and is a licensed Massage Therapist who writes for numerous blogs online. Feel free to comment or ask questions regarding any of Alley's blog posts.