Most people have been in this situation before. You are stopped at a red light listening to their favorite song or news report or podcast and without warning a car hits you from behind, or you are traveling down the Highway and someone changes lanes without a care and hits you. While the act of the car accident is unfortunate the aftermath is what is most troubling. The term Whiplash gets thrown around a lot but do people really understand the issues that arise from it?
Whiplash is a neck injury
Whiplash is caused due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma. Putting aside auto accidents for now, when we were young we would jump and play without care. We would fall, tackle, and trip without any thought of what it could do to our bodies. Those movements too can create problems that over time can show up like the symptoms we feel after being in a car accident. The difference here is Whiplash from a car accident happens immediately and whiplash from repetitive activities will show up after repeated trauma. We tend to look at pain as that deciding factor as whether or not we see someone. When you get whiplash from a car accident it doesn’t take long before the symptoms of pain start to show up, but it can take years for someone to figure out that these mini traumas we self-inflicted as kids are what is causing our pain.
Within the first 24-48 hours scar tissue starts to form to protect the body from further motion that may injure the body even more. While this may seem very helpful, and it is, the body that has been stopped from hurting itself has created a problem that could create further damage. Our bodies need motion to survive. When our bodies are not in motion they start to break down. Systems start to fail and the body cannot function as it’s supposed to. You wouldn’t try to move your car without oil would you. This is essentially how our bodies feel after a whiplash injury, frozen in place without any movement.
This is another duty of a chiropractor, to break up the scar tissue by manipulating the spine. We are able to break up those adhesions (scar tissue) and bring in fluid to create more movement into each and every joint. This is not any easy task. We don’t just move everything once and get the perfect result and our bodies are happy. This process takes time to ensure that the body eliminates all the muscle memory it has stored from this unfortunate incident. Whether you are going 5mph or 50mph our bodies react similarly. Once the trauma is introduced motion is necessary. If you have been in an accident or you remember how active you were as a child make sure you get your spine checked!
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Written our own Dr. Shawn Carlin - Evolution Chiropractic of Danbury.
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