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'Tis the season once again when the snow starts to fall, the roads start to freeze, and black ice becomes more feared than the Bogeyman. During these next 3 months, more auto accidents will occur then any other time of the year. Would you believe that every year 3 million people experience whiplash injures as a result of automobile accidents? Further more, nearly 50% of all Americans with chronic neck pain attribute it to a previous automobile injury. Contrary to popular belief, speed does not necessarily play a role in the severity of the injury. Researchers have discovered that whiplash injuries can result from collisions with speeds as low as 3 miles per hour! If this seems impossible, let me explain.
As a Chiropractor that specializes in the evaluation and management of automobile accidents, let me briefly explain how these injuries can occur. When you are involved in a low speed auto accident there is likely little or no damage to your vehicle. When damage does occur to your vehicle the car absorbs some of the forces of the collision in the “buckling” or “crumbling” of the cars structure. The more force absorbed by the car means the less force absorbed by the person driving the car; this is referred to as “ride down”. Lets use the following example:
If I were to run at 10 miles per hour and collide into a wall of pillows vs. walking into a brick wall at 2 miles per hour, which do you think would cause more injury? The pillows would serve to “ride down” the forces minimizing the amount on my body, whereas the brick wall would not “ride down” and force me to bear the burden of the impact. This is why the “minor” fender bender often times results in such large amount of people complaining of Whiplash injuries.
Whiplash injuries are referred to in healthcare as "Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration” injuries or (CAD), because this describes the rapid movements that occur to the neck that may injure the vertebra, muscles and ligaments that support it. The head accelerates during these collisions and then rapidly decelerates in the opposite direction causing a shearing force on the neck. These forces can lead to a host of problems including; neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, numbness and tingling in the arms and others.
A Chiropractor that is trained in treating these types of injuries can often help speed your recovery, and diminish the likelihood of chronic symptoms. According to research in the Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine; Chiropractic treatment for Whiplash injures is safe and effective (1). Other research has demonstrated that chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients suffering from chronic whiplash syndromes (2).
Dr. Mexico is a Chiropractic physician and owner of Synaptic Chiropractic Center in Baldwinville, MA. He can be reached at (978) 939-8700 or at email@example.com.
1. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.
2. Woodward et al. Chiropractic treatment of chronic whiplash injuries. Injury 1996;27:643-645.
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