What is Whiplash?

Many times after an auto accident, patients will ask: “Dr. Birk is this pain from whiplash?” In reality, few people really understand what whiplash is unless they have experienced whiplash firsthand.

Whiplash is an Acceleration-Deceleration Process

During a car accident, the occupant’s body is rapidly sped up (accelerated) and rapidly slowed down (decelerated). This creates the classic whip-like motion of the head and neck being suddenly thrown about relative to the torso. The problem with whiplash is that each of our body parts moves, as it is sped up and slowed down, at a different rates; such as the head, neck, torso, lower spine, arms, legs, etc. That’s called inertia. Whiplash injury occurs because the soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold sections of our body together, such as the joints of our spine, get over-stretched, torn, or compressed when they are caught in the cross-fire between areas of the body that are moving at different inertial speeds.

The Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash are as varied as the parts of our body that sustain injury in a car crash. It is important to understand that while whiplash is classically understood to be associated with the neck, whiplash injury can occur at any level of the spine. Therefore, the most common symptoms that whiplash can produce include neck pain, headaches, back pain and concussions. Other symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, jaw pain, anxiety, shoulder pain, sciatica, numbness, tingling, and muscle spasm.

The Insidious Nature of Whiplash

Whiplash symptoms don’t always show up immediately following car accident trauma. It can take weeks, and even months, for all of the injuries to manifest themselves. The problem is that whiplash injuries have high rates of chronic pain in the years following the car accident. Sometimes a patient will feel pain for the rest of their life from whiplash injury. Research studies indicate that the greatest protection against a lifetime of chronic pain from whiplash is early detection of the injuries and correct care right away. In other words, get checked early on after a car accident by a Doctor of Chiropractic that is specifically trained in caring for these types of complex injuries.

Chiropractic Care is a Gold Standard for Whiplash Injury

Modern research studies point to chiropractic care for its effectiveness in caring for and recovering from whiplash injuries. Chiropractic care relieves pain, reduces spasm, resolves headaches, increases mobility, and overall facilitates the healing of car accident injury. The goal of chiropractic care is to correct the underlying injuries rather than simply masking the symptoms with pain medications and muscle relaxants.

Have You Sustained Car Accident Injuries?

If you have been injured in an auto accident, please do not continue to suffer. Help is just a phone call away. Give Dr. Birk a call at (905) 264-9355 and begin your path back to health.


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