What Is The Best Description Of A Peer-Reviewed Journal Article The Backlash After Whiplash: What Can You Do?

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The Backlash After Whiplash: What Can You Do?

Have you ever been in a car accident? Over the course of an average lifetime, there is a high probability that you or someone you know will experience an unfortunate event of this type. Statistics show that during their lifetime every fourth person will experience a traffic accident. After a fender bender, whether you’re the driver or passenger, you can take a pain pill or two and maybe do some physical therapy. Then, when you feel better, you may never think about it again. But what if the symptoms persist? Or, even worse, if you have no symptoms, could the accident come back to haunt you?

What is “Whiplash”?

The nonmedical term whiplash was first used in 1928. Although it has sometimes been replaced by more accurate terms, such as flexion-extension acceleration neck injury or cervical soft tissue hyperextension, “whiplash” is still commonly used for this type of soft tissue neck injury. Whiplash expert Dr. Arthur Croft estimates that as many as 3 million whiplash injuries occur each year in the United States and that one in three people will suffer from the condition.

A whiplash neck injury is a sudden strain or trauma that affects the bones, discs, muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons of the neck, an area of ​​the body that includes the seven vertebrae and is known as the cervical region. Harmful jerks of the head and neck forward and backward or even to the side are caused not only by car accidents, but also by contact sports, various amusement park rides, falls and assaults. Statistically, motor vehicle crashes, contact sports and amusement park rides are the top three causes.

A variety of symptoms are associated with a whiplash injury, including, but not limited to, neck and back pain, nausea, numbness, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, vertigo (loss of balance), inflammation, hearing loss, headaches, vision disturbances, fractures, and palsy. Sometimes there are no symptoms at first, but they appear days, weeks or even years after the injury. The consequences of a whiplash injury to the neck vary from mild pain lasting a few days (the most common outcome) to severe disability caused by limited movement of the head or cervical spine, sometimes with long-term pain. It is likely that 40% to 50% of people with whiplash injuries suffer from persistent pain.

Treatment of injury

After an accident, it’s important to get checked out at the emergency room or by your chiropractor right away. Provided no fracture has occurred, the chiropractor may perform an examination that begins with taking a detailed history, followed by orthopedic and neurological tests, a range of motion tests, position and palpation checks, and X-rays to see the extent of damage or changes in the spine. The neck should be perfectly straight on the x-ray and your chiropractor will be able to identify any misalignment (subluxation). Viewed from the side, the neck should show the arc of a circle. Loss of the cervical curve, which is common with physical impact, can cause any of the above symptoms of a whiplash injury.

Treatment for a whiplash injury includes passive and active exercises, gentle massage, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, spinal and extremity adjustments, as well as such therapies as traction to correct spinal alignment, electrical stimulation to relax muscle spasms, stretching, and ice. Applying ice immediately after most whiplash injuries helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Each application should be maintained for 10 to 20 minutes every hour. After 24 hours, alternating heating and ice is recommended, up to 20 minutes per treatment. Ice or an ice bag should be wrapped in a towel before use. To sleep, the patient can roll up a towel and place it under the neck while lying on the back so that the back of the skull rests on the bed, a position that promotes healing of the injury.

Chiropractic has an advantage

Many studies have shown that chiropractic and acupuncture are more effective than drugs for treating car accident injuries. According to the Insurance Research Council, “Nearly one-third of all claimants injured in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) seek treatment from chiropractic physicians.” This is an impressive number when you consider that the National Safety Council (NSC) has determined that there are more than 12 million MVAs per year involving more than 20 million vehicles.

In a related study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers showed that “treatment of facet joints [which link the bones in the spine] not only did it relieve severe neck pain, but it also resolved the psychological disorders associated with car accidents.” According to another study published in Dr. Stephen Foreman and Dr. Arthur Croft’s book Whiplash Injuries: The Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, 3rd Edition ( Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001), a recent comparison of medicine, acupuncture, and chiropractic in a randomized trial reported that “comparing drugs (Celebrex, Vioxx, or paracetamol) [acetaminophen]) to acupuncture and spinal manipulation over 9 weeks in people with chronic spinal pain (including pain from the neck to the lower back), the authors demonstrated a fairly profound superiority of chiropractic spinal manipulation.”

Many people choose chiropractic for treatment because of its benefits in improving soft tissue injuries (ie ligaments, muscles, tissues), especially the spine. As the injuries associated with car accidents are most often strains and sprains of the spinal muscles and associated ligaments, it is natural that chiropractic is the treatment of choice.

Preventing further injury

Various proactive factors can prevent whiplash injuries from occurring or worsening while driving. In addition to the obvious steps to avoid distractions, such as not using your cell phone for calls or texting, wearing a full lap belt is mandatory. Drivers and passengers should place the head restraints in the middle of the back of the skull and try to keep the head on the head restraint while the car is in motion. Looking straight ahead and checking your mirrors frequently are also key for a driver.

Because some whiplash injuries result in sequelae that last for years, if a cervical impact accident occurs, immediate attention is essential. Seeking good medical and chiropractic care without delay can prevent additional injuries from developing as well as prevent the need for surgery.

dr. Chad Laurence is one of fewer than 400 physicians worldwide to be recognized as a Distinguished Contributor to the Clinical Biomechanics of Posture. His practice focuses on structural spinal correction, nutrition, massage therapy, acupuncture, family care and pediatrics, as well as post-personal injury and auto accident support. dr. Laurence can help relieve the symptoms of people suffering from a variety of physical problems, including neck and low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, limb problems and arthritis.

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