Whiplash: It’s more than a pain in the neck!

Technically speaking, “whiplash” is not a condition; rather it describes how an injury occurred. Most people commonly associate the term whiplash with a sudden backwards, forwards, or sideways motion of the neck and head.

Whiplash Motion

Do I really need to see a Chiropractor?

The hospital says the X-rays are normal:
There are several limitations to the interpretation of this:
1.Most injuries do not show on x-rays. Tissues not directly seen on x-ray:

  • Joint Capsules
  • Nerve Roots
  • Ligaments
  • Discs
  • Muscles/Tendons

2. The emergency room rules out life threatening pathology, such as dislocations and fractures.

3. In some cases, radiographs may have been taken when the patient was still on the backboard. Studies show these x-rays are notorious for missing even significant pathology – up to 67% of fractures and 45% of misalignments. Patients’ heads are turned and secured by collars that often preclude any reasonable interpretations with regard to posture and biomechanics.

Spinal Segments 

Risk of Injury:

The risk of injury is thought to be about 50% of occupants of cars subjected to an auto crash. Thus, out of 100 persons subjected to auto collision, about half will be injured to one degree or another.

About half of those will recover, while the other half will develop some degree of chronic pain and/or dysfunction. About 5% of those exposed to a crash will become disabled.

Thus, if six million people are exposed to a rear impact crash, about three million will be injured; 1.5 million will have chronic residuals; about 300,000 will become disabled. From this data we have estimated that about 9% of Americans suffer from chronic neck pain of motor vehicle crash origin.

Common Myths:

  1. Low speed rear impact crashes do not cause injuries.
  2. Injuries heal in 6-12 weeks.
  3. Litigation has an effect on the patient’s recovery.
  4. Greater vehicle damage equates to greater occupant injury.
  • More than 3 million Americans are injured with whiplash injury each year.
  • Nearly half of all chronic neck pain in America is due to car crashes.
  • “Minor” neck injuries account for up to 60% of all permanent impairment claims
  • About 300,000 will be injured
  • About 1,500,000 will have chronic pain
  • About 10% of those injured become permanently disabled.
  • Kids are at 2/3 the risk of adults

Crash Facts:

  1. Most injuries occur at crash speeds of below 12 mph.
  2. Most cars withstand 8-12 mph impacts without structural damage.
  3. More than half of all low speed rear impact injuries occur without vehicle damage.
  4. There is no correlation between vehicle damage and outcome.
  5. The peak acceleration of the head is much greater than the peak acceleration of the vehicle.
  6. Delays in onset of symptoms are normal.

Risk Factors:

  • The injury threshold is higher for females, or those hit unaware, or those with:
  • Head turned
  • Rear impact
  • Shoulder harness
  • Poor head restraints
  • Hit by a vehicle with greater mass
  • Poor position in car
  • Prior injury
  • Prior headaches and/or neck pain

The 7 Most Common Symtoms Following Whiplash: 

  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shoulder pain
  • Anxiety
  • Interscapular pain
  • Low back pain

Prognosis Studies:

Over the past 42 years dozens of papers have been published that have looked at the long-term follow-up of whiplash patients. About 39% of the injured persons in mixed (meaning rear impacts combined with roll-over, side impact, frontal, etc.) impact collision studies remain symptomatic at long-term follow-up, while 56% of those in the pure rear impact studies remained symptomatic.

How does Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic enhances the body’s natural healing processes. Chiropractic care can help to relieve your pain, muscle spasms and nerve irritation, and restore spinal joint function, strength and stability to the injured area. That is why you should receive a chiropractic evaluation immediately following a potential “whiplash” injury, even if you have no symptoms.

Chiropractors are specially trained to diagnose and correct soft-tissue damage i.e. stretched or torn ligaments, muscle spasms, and/or nerve pressure. Left untreated, whiplash can lead to chronic pain, restricted movement, and even degenerative arthritis later in life.

The goal for chiropractic care is to restore normal joint motion. Beemer Back Center uses many physical therapy machines to reduce tissue swelling and inflammation, muscle spasms, and eventually increase muscle tone and ligament strength.

Light rehab, muscle massage, and stretching techniques are also used over the course of treatment. These treatments are extremely safe and gentle. Remember medications mask pain. Chiropractic care corrects structural or soft tissue damage caused by “whiplash” injuries.

Why Beemer Back Center?

  1. Dr. Beemer has experience in treating whiplash; she has treated literally thousands of whiplash victims.
  2. Doctors of Chiropractic have full diagnostic capability. Dr. Beemer can order any and all necessary diagnostic studies, including MRI’s.
  3. Dr. Beemer provides comprehensive care that may include spinal adjustments, deep tissue therapy, physical therapy modalities, light rehabilitation, and exercise instructions. This type of treatment actually heals your body not just your symptoms. Drugs may ease your discomfort; they will not repair your damaged tissues and bone structure.
  4. Dr. Beemer provides full medicolegal cooperation including well-written reports and expert sworn testimony when required. She has over 100 extra postgraduate training hours with experts and researchers in different fields of study including auto crash reconstruction.
  5. Many physicians seem to stop learning when they complete medical school. Dr. Beemer has remained on the cutting edge of her profession through countless hours of additional training and personal study.
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