1. If you have been in an accident, whether it’s a motor vehicle crash (rear end collision) or a direct trauma to your head and neck you may have whiplash.
2. The injury may occur at speeds as low as 2 MPH or at high speeds.
3. Symptoms may include: headaches, neck pain, muscle spasms, blurry vision, loss of appetite, irritability, sleep loss, memory lapses, nausea, dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms, ringing in the ears. The symptoms may occur immediately, within hours or days later.
4. The impact of a whiplash injury causes a change in your body’s biomechanics. In a rear end collision, your body is thrust forward while your head is forced backward. This causes the vertebrae of the neck to hyperextend. Following that movement, the head is thrust forward causing a hyperflexion of the vertebrae of the neck.
5. Patient’s that go to the hospital, walk-in clinics or doctor’s office and have x-rays taken are usually negative for a fracture. On x-ray, there is usually a straightening of the normal lordotic curvature, muscle spasms, and pain.
6. Chiropractic treatment can help symptoms of whiplash injuries. Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to diagnose and treat these symptoms. A thorough history of the accident is taken, an examination consisting of orthopedic and neurological testing, postural analysis and x-rays are performed as well. You may be sent for other imaging that can help treat the many signs and symptoms of whiplash injuries. Depending on the severity of the injury symptoms may last from days to weeks or even months.
7. MRI scans are a diagnostic tool your doctor may send you for. This scan helps determine if there is an injury to the intervertebral disc (cartilage located between the vertebrae). You may have a bulge or herniated disc as a result of your injury.
8. Another great diagnostic tool that is now being used to determine the extent of injury in a whiplash is called Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis (CRMA). With this procedure, the doctor sends you for specific stress x-rays of the spine. X-rays will be taken in a neutral lateral position, then you will bend your head forward – flexion of the head, followed by you bending your head backward – the extension of the head. With this study, the doctor is looking for ligament instability of the spine that an MRI scan will not pick up. The films are then digitized on the computer and an exact measurement of spinal movement can be attained to see if you have any ligament instability.
9. Chiropractic treatment for your injury will help reduce your pain, restore your range of motion, eliminate the numbness and tingling often associated with the injury, heal muscle and ligament injury.
10. After a trauma no matter how trivial or severe it is a good idea to get evaluated by a Healthcare professional. Monitor your symptoms hours to days after your injury. If you suffer from any the symptoms discussed above you may have a whiplash injury. Seek treatment and stick to the treatment plan in order to heal your body and prevent long term damage that may occur from ignoring these signs and symptoms.