Whiplash is a term used to describe a neck injury in which there is a rapid acceleration-deceleration. The ligaments, discs, nerves, tendons, vertebrae, and muscles of the neck area can get damaged from the sudden force of hyperextension and hyperflexion. Whiplash is common among those who were involved in a car accident, even for speeds going less than 15MPH.

Because of the force of pushing the neck forwards and backwards, the tendons and ligaments that hold vertebrae in proper alignment can get damaged. The vertebrae can then change in position and cause irritation to the nerve roots of the neck. Whiplash due to a car accident often requires treatment from a reputable chiropractor. 

Whiplash and Car Collisions

Whiplash is one of the most frequently seen injuries in car accident victims. There are other ways whiplash can occur, such as during contact sports or riding a speedy roller coaster. There are many factors that can make someone more vulnerable to a whiplash injury, such as those with arthritis, vertebral subluxations, and osteoporosis. While there is some debate on how much force is needed to result in a whiplash injury, it doesn’t take high speeds to cause this type of damage to the neck.

Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash can vary depending on the individual and the circumstances of the accident. Because a car accident can cause shock, a person may not feel symptoms until they wake up the next morning or within the days following. It is strongly advised that anyone with whiplash gets help from a chiropractor right away. If care isn’t sought promptly, the damage may worsen and become a chronic issue. Symptoms of whiplash often entail the following: 

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Reduction in ability to move neck
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ear ringing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pins/needles feeling in arms and hands
  • Numbness
  • Blurry vision

Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

If whiplash is treated quickly after the car accident, then a full recovery may be possible. However, if treatment is delayed or not sought, then it can turn into a long-term problem. Untreated whiplash can lead to permanent damage of the vertebrae, degeneration of the cervical spine and neck pain. And because the entire body system is connected, surrounding areas may compensate in response to the neck injury. A person may also begin noticing uncomfortable symptoms arising in their shoulders, upper back, arms, and hands. 

About Chiropractic Adjustments

After evaluating your whiplash injury, your chiropractor, like a chiropractor in Mesa, AZ at LifeCare Chiropractic, will determine whether spinal adjustments can benefit you. During this treatment, the chiropractor uses short thrusts to gently move the joints back to their correct position. This can promote healing, decrease restriction motion, and combat inflammation. It may also be recommended that you receive other forms of chiropractic care, such as massage, ultrasound, heat therapy, and stretches. Since every person is different and no car accident is the same, the treatment plan may vary as well.