Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid movement of the head forward, backward, or side to side. This motion can cause brain injury, muscle spasms or tearing, ligament stretching and instability, and even fractures to the spine that can cause permanent disability. Car accidents that occur at 5mph or more can cause soft tissue damage and injury to the soft tissue even if the vehicles involved don't show any damage. The damage to your vehicle can be very misleading since most vehicles don't show damage until 10mph or more. In a recent report, most whiplash injuries occur at speeds below 12mph and symptom onset is usually delayed by a day or two. Many people incorrectly believe that if they don't have pain directly after the accident they weren't injured and may not seek treatment until serious symptoms develop which can result in permanent damage if delayed too long.
A whiplash injury can affect the structure and stability of the neck and can cause permanent and lasting damage if not healed correctly. The ligaments that run along the front and back of your spine that lend stability and support to your neck can be stretched out in a whiplash injury. In a 2012 study released by the Journal of Biomechanics, these ligaments can stretch three to five times their normal length after a whiplash injury. The stability of the neck at this point is completely compromised and comparable to a neck with ligaments that are completely torn. If you were involved in an accident and haven't been evaluated by your doctor or chiropractor you should make an appointment today. The sooner you seek treatment for whiplash, the better your outcomes will be.
Here's a short animation video of what is going on not only in your spine, but also your brain in a rear ended car accident.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Below find a list of the most common whiplash symptoms as well as their rates of occurrence. If you're experiencing any of the below symptoms please call (309) 689-6200 to schedule a consultation in our office today.
Neck pain and/or stiffness 92%
Shoulder pain 49%
Pain between the shoulder blades 42%
Low back pain 39%
Sleep disturbance 39%
Upper limb numbness/tingling 30%
Sensitivity to noise 29%
Difficulty concentrating 26%
Blurred vision 21%
Difficulty swallowing 16%
Upper limb pain 12%
Upper limb weakness 6%
Ringing in the ears 4%
Pain in the jaw or face 4%
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, I highly recommend you see a physician to assess for damage to the brain, nervous system, muscles, ligaments, and possible fracture.