Injuries to the neck caused by the sudden movement of the head, backward, forward, or sideways, is referred to as whiplash. Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal range of motion, the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine and head can be strained or torn. The discs between the vertebrae in the spine can bulge, tear, or herniate. The bones in the cervical spine can be misaligned from the normal position, reducing range of motion and causing pain and discomfort. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated. Although the damage to a car in an accident may be slight, the occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can result in headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulders, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear immediately after the accident and one may feel that treatment is not necessary. However, some of these symptoms usually show up two to three days after the accident and it is important to get checked by a doctor specializing in auto accident injuries. If left unattended these injuries can affect you later on in life.Chiropractors deal with car accidents on a daily basis and are one of the best health care providers for these types of injuries. After a thorough case history and examination, the doctor will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of the spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can be minimized.