The definition of whiplash encompasses any injury to the neck. Most whiplash injuries occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents. And the most common type of whiplash happens when a car is rear-ended, resulting in greater risk of injury to the occupants in the impacted vehicle.
Most people naturally understand the risks and injuries that stem from high speed collisions, but few people understand the large majority of whiplash injuries from car accidents occur from low speed collisions. Research confirms that injuries sustained in automobile accidents with speeds as low as 5.97MPH create spinal injuries with potential long-term permanent damage.
What exactly is Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries primarily damage three different spinal tissues: joints, ligaments, and muscles. Spinal joints allow for movement and include the connective surfaces between two vertebrae. Ligaments attach from bone to bone and exist to support and hold bones in their correct position. Muscles surround the bones and ligaments to provide support and all voluntary movement in the joint. Whiplash injuries damage all three types of tissue.
Muscles and ligaments forcibly stretch beyond their physiological range during a whiplash injury. Untreated injuries and tears eventually heal into permanent scar tissue. Muscle and ligament injuries negatively impact spinal joints causing the joints to lose their full range of motion. A lack of movement by joints and muscles directly contribute to long term health problems.
Spinal joints require an appropriate amount of movement to maintain good health and function. The degenerative process initiates in as soon as a few days or weeks after stationary action begins. Prolonged reduction in movement creates an environment where decay and degeneration prey within a joint.
How Chiropractic Care Helps
Chiropractic adjustments address afflicted vertebra and restore healthy joint motion. Adjustments curtail the degenerative process by improving nerve function to the muscles and offending joints. Long term Chiropractic care critically impacts the onset of injury related degeneration. Research proves that auto accidents occurring at speeds of less than 6MPH generate enough force to trigger a degenerative cascade of injuries to the moveable joints found within the body. The same evidence mirrors results found from falls and other impact related occurrences.
Long term spinal injuries affect people of all ages and gender. A thorough spinal evaluation such as what we practice, assesses position and movement capabilities in each spinal vertebra. Reversing or preventing spinal decay means the difference between optimal health and the potential for a lifetime of stiffness, soreness, and joint degeneration. Whiplash injuries create interference between the brain and body. Chiropractors call this interference a vertebral subluxation.
Subluxations influence virtually every aspect of human health and performance due to damaging irritation created in the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments combined with improved spinal movement address key components that enable restorative motion and a reduced risk of spinal degeneration.
September 2006 “Putting the 5 MPH Injury Threshold to the Test” Brian Henderson