Posts Tagged ‘Whiplash Avoidance’

Whiplash and Chiropractic Management

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Whiplash injuries occur as the result of a sudden acceleration followed by deceleration, and the degree of injury is dependent on many factors. Some of these include: the size of the vehicle, the conditions of the road, the angle of the seat back, the “springiness” of the seat back, the position of the head rest, the size of the patient’s neck, the position of the patient’s head and neck at the time of impact, the awareness of the impending collision, etc. Hence, each case must be evaluated and managed using a unique, individualized approach.

The chiropractic encounter begins with the history and examination. Here we will ask many questions and perform tests that will give us clues to understand the mechanism of injury, identify the primary tissues injured, and determine the best treatment approaches to utilize.

There are many different chiropractic treatment approaches available for patients with whiplash injuries. For example, manual therapies include spinal manipulation, mobilization, manual traction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation methods, the assessment of the patient’s physical capacities with issuing specific exercises and, considerations of modifying work station issues and/or lifestyle changes. Chiropractic manipulation is a very common approach utilized in the treatment of joint dysfunction. That is, restoring normal movement to the joints affected negatively by the whiplash injury. Terms such as, “stuck,” “fixed,” “subluxation,” and the like are often used to describe altered joint position or function. Typically, the manipulation (also called “adjustment”) is applied well within the normal range of motion of the joint using a “high velocity” (or fast) movement through a short distance in the direction that attempts to correct the joint dysfunction. Because the procedure is quick and of short distance, patients frequently state, “…that felt great!” In fact, if the pre-adjustment position of the patient hurts or is uncomfortable, we will instead use a slow, mobilizing movement.

Exercise strategies are important and typically employed as soon as possible. The type of exercise is (again) case specific, but in general, exercises are initially prescribed in a manner that restores movement with as little discomfort as possible. Following the goal of increasing range of motion, strengthening the injured region with stabilization exercises, and restoring sensory-motor activity to the muscles becomes the primary focus in the management of the whiplash patient. When the intervertebral disks are “deranged” or altered, directions that minimize radiating pain are emphasized in the exercises. After careful in-office training, the patient is instructed to perform exercises at home, often multiple times a day, for stability of the spine and to re-establish motor control and movement. Ergonomic and daily lifestyle modifications are frequently addressed to avoid the possibility of the condition being irritated on a regular basis, thus interfering with the healing process. If a patient is stressing the injured area at work, job modifications can make or break the success of the management program.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Whiplash Avoidance

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Whiplash, or more properly stated, Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD), is usually associated with car accidents, slip and falls and sports injuries. It is a very common injury affecting millions of people around the world, and costing health care systems billions of dollars. The question of the month is, what can we do to AVOID or prevent whiplash?

STEP 1. SHOP FOR A SAFER CAR. There are many resources that you can review such as the “Insurance Institute for Highway Safety” that have published ratings for the safest seats, head restraints, and include many makes and models of cars, SUV’s and trucks. For example, Volvo and Saab have recently designed car seats where the seat back collapses backwards upon impact so as to minimize the rebound response in a rear-end collision, thus minimizing the head and neck from whipping back and forth. Therefore, before YOU purchase your next car, compare the vehicle’s structural design, its size and weight, the restraint systems, the airbags, the head rests, as well as crash avoidance features. Remember, in general, small cars put you at greater risk simply due to the small mass equaling less protection.

STEP 2. POSITION THE HEAD RESTRAINTS PROPERLY. This means put them in their “up” position. The most common problem with head restraints is that they are placed too low and offer little to no protection if and when you are struck from behind. In fact, 80% of cars have the head restraint in the low or “down” position, which (surprisingly) is WORSE than having no head restraint at all! This is because when the head restraint is too low, it acts like a fulcrum, hitting the middle of the neck promoting MORE hyperextension when compared to having no head restraint whatsoever. Remember, head restraints are designed to fit an “average man,” making it challenging for a tall or short person to obtain a good “fit.” A good position for a head restraint is within 1 inch of the back of the head and 1-2 inches above the mid-portion of the head as “ramping” often occurs especially if the seat back is reclined backwards, and the whole body slides up and over the head restraint.

STEP 3. PREPARE FOR THE CRASH. This actually may NOT be possible since the “whipping” action happens within 500 milliseconds and voluntary muscle contraction is about twice as slow, not to mention that the crash can occur at lightning fast speeds leaving you with little time to prepare. However, if you do have time to prepare, do the following: 1. Put your head and neck all the way back into the seat back and a properly adjusted head restraint so that there is firm contact. 2. Extend the elbows and straighten the arms gripping firmly onto the steering wheel in preparation to brace yourself. 3. Place your foot on the brake as firmly as possible (assuming that you are stopped in traffic). 4. Look straight ahead avoiding neck or head rotation. 5. Tilt your head back slightly so that your eyes are pointed toward the top of the windshield. 6. Prior to impact, shrug your shoulders upwards toward the ears and brace yourself firmly.

STEP 4. SEEK IMMEDIATE TREATMENT. It is critical to obtain treatment as quickly as possible as there is a tremendous advantage to start treatment especially with the first 2 weeks post-collision to avoid the likelihood of a chronic potentially disabling condition.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.