Posts Tagged ‘whiplash’

Common Whiplash Myths – Part 2

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Last month, we began discussing common myths about whiplash injuries, and this month, we will continue on that course. Remember, the amount of injury that occurs in an acceleration/deceleration injury is dependent on many factors, some of which include gender (females>males), body type (tall slender = worse), the amount of vehicular damage (less is sometimes worse as the energy of the strike was not absorbed by crushing metal), head position at the time of impact (rotation is worse than looking straight ahead), and more. Therefore, each case MUST be looked at on its own merits, not just analyzed based on a formula or accident reconstruction.

MYTH #5: THERE MUST BE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE NECK FOR INJURY TO OCCUR.Injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to the rapid, uncontrolled whipping action of the head, forcing the neck to move well beyond its normal range of motion in a forwards/backwards direction (if it’s a front or rear-end collision) or, at an angle if the head is rotated or when the strike occurs at an angle. When this occurs, the strong ligaments that hold the bones together stretch and tear in a mild, moderate, or severe degree, depending on the amount of force. Once stretched, increased motion between the affected vertebra results as ligaments, when stretched, don’t repair back to their original length and, just like a severe ankle sprain, future problems can result. This excess motion between vertebra can result in an accelerated type of arthritis and is often seen within five years following a cervical sprain or whiplash injury.

MYTH #6:  SEAT BELTS PREVENT WHIPLASH INJURIES. It’s safe to say that wearing seat belts saves lives and, it’s the law! So, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS! They protect us from hitting the windshield or worse, being ejected from the vehicle. But, as far as preventing whiplash, in some cases (low speed impacts where most of the force is transferred to the car’s occupants), the opposite may actually be true. (This is not an excuse to not wear a seatbelt!) The reason seat belts can add to the injury mechanism is because when the chest or trunk is held tightly against the car seat, the head moves through a greater arc of motion than it would if the trunk were not pinned against the seat, forcing the chin further to the chest and/or the back of the head further back. The best way to minimize the whiplash injury is to have a well-designed seat belt system where the height of the chest harness can be adjusted to the height of the driver so that the chest restraint doesn’t come across the upper chest or neck. Move the side adjustment so the chest belt crosses between the breasts (this also reduces injury risk to the breasts) and attaches at or near the height of the shoulder (not too high). Another preventer of whiplash is positioning the head restraint high enough (above the ears typically) and close to the head (no more than ½ to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the backwards whipping action. Also, keep the seat back more vertical than reclined so the body doesn’t “ramp” up the seat back forcing the head over the top of the head restraint.

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 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.

Common Whiplash Myths – Second Part

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The previous month, we began discussing common myths about whiplash injuries, and this month, we will continue on that course. Remember, the amount of injury that occurs in an acceleration/deceleration injury is dependent on many factors, some of which include gender (females>males), body type (tall slender = worse), the amount of vehicular damage (less is sometimes worse as the energy of the strike was not absorbed by crushing metal), head position at the time of impact (rotation is worse than looking straight ahead), and more. Therefore, each case MUST be looked at on its own merits, not just analyzed based on a formula or accident reconstruction.

MYTH #5: THERE MUST BE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE NECK FOR INJURY TO OCCUR.Injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to the rapid, uncontrolled whipping action of the head, forcing the neck to move well beyond its normal range of motion in a forwards/backwards direction (if it’s a front or rear-end collision) or, at an angle if the head is rotated or when the strike occurs at an angle. When this occurs, the strong ligaments that hold the bones together stretch and tear in a mild, moderate, or severe degree, depending on the amount of force. Once stretched, increased motion between the affected vertebra results as ligaments, when stretched, don’t repair back to their original length and, just like a severe ankle sprain, future problems can result. This excess motion between vertebra can result in an accelerated type of arthritis and is often seen within five years following a cervical sprain or whiplash injury.

MYTH #6:  SEAT BELTS PREVENT WHIPLASH INJURIES. It’s safe to say that wearing seat belts saves lives and, it’s the law! So, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS! They protect us from hitting the windshield or worse, being ejected from the vehicle. But, as far as preventing whiplash, in some cases (low speed impacts where most of the force is transferred to the car’s occupants), the opposite may actually be true. (This is not an excuse to not wear a seatbelt!) The reason seat belts can add to the injury mechanism is because when the chest or trunk is held tightly against the car seat, the head moves through a greater arc of motion than it would if the trunk were not pinned against the seat, forcing the chin further to the chest and/or the back of the head further back. The best way to minimize the whiplash injury is to have a well-designed seat belt system where the height of the chest harness can be adjusted to the height of the driver so that the chest restraint doesn’t come across the upper chest or neck. Move the side adjustment so the chest belt crosses between the breasts (this also reduces injury risk to the breasts) and attaches at or near the height of the shoulder (not too high). Another preventer of whiplash is positioning the head restraint high enough (above the ears typically) and close to the head (no more than ½ to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the backwards whipping action. Also, keep the seat back more vertical than reclined so the body doesn’t “ramp” up the seat back forcing the head over the top of the head restraint.

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.