People tend to associate whiplash with car accidents. But did you know that whiplash can also be caused by sports injuries or work accidents?

Whiplash injuriesWhiplash refers to a condition in which the joints, discs and muscles of the neck are jerked beyond their normal limits, resulting in them being overstretched or torn. This most commonly occurs in motor vehicle accidents. When someone in a car is hit from behind, their body is propelled forward immediately, while the head lingers for a second. This delay means the neck muscles are overstretched. To compensate for this discrepancy, the neck muscles quickly contract to bring the head forward, in line with the body. Unfortunately, this tends to overcompensate, with the neck muscles being stretched further than necessary, as the body returns to its normal position.

This action of the head can lead to debilitating pain, including neck stiffness, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vertigo or numbness and tingling. Symptoms in acute whiplash may not appear at their peak until after the body has coped with the shock of the accident, and pain sets in.

The restricted motion in the neck serves as protection for the spine, so that it cannot be further harmed by more movement. Chiropractic care for acute whiplash involves gently restoring the natural motion of the spine and removing any associated pain. Chiropractic adjustments can assist to relieve pressure from the spine, and returns muscles and discs to their natural position. Soft tissue massage also reduces muscle inflammation and prevents scar tissue from forming.

You should be examined as soon as possible after a whiplash accident, even if the symptoms do not seem too severe. This is because it can take days or weeks for symptoms to properly develop. Identifying and addressing problems early will limit pain and recovery time. Don’t neglect your own injuries because your car has sustained little or no damage. In fact, if your car shows little damage after a crash, this may mean that you have sustained all of the force from the crash. Newer cars are designed to take the impact of the crash, meaning more damage to the car frame, but less damage to the passengers.

Chiropractors do not usually recommend the use of neck braces following whiplash, as these can make the overstretched muscles weak, resulting in a longer and more difficult period of recovery. Chiropractic offers a fast and effective option for the treatment of whiplash, reliving pain and assisting in restoring free motion.

Chiropractors can also recommend exercises for whiplash. Whiplash is commonly treated with chiropractic care1. The Chiropractors at Back to Basics can help you get well and stay well after the trauma of a whiplash injury.

1. Work. 2010;35(3):369-94. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2010-0996.A systematic review of chiropractic management of adults with Whiplash-Associated Disorders: recommendations for advancing evidence-based practice and research. Shaw L, Descarreaux M, Bryans R, Duranleau M, Marcoux H, Potter B, Ruegg R, Watkin R, White E.

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