We see car wrecks varying from high speed collisions causing a totaling of the car to a little parking lot fender bender. Who do you think goes to get checked out by a medical professional more commonly, based on previous described situations? You guessed it! If there is not much damage to the car, surely no damage to you, right? WRONG! Whiplash can come from as a little as a 5 mph impact, that is barely enough to put a dent into your car. But it is enough to cause a plethora of issues either immediately or many years down the road wreaking havoc on your body.
Whiplash is defined as a strain of muscles and tendons of the neck created by a force causing a forward and backward jerking of your head. It comes in all different forms of collision, whether it be sports, car wrecks, or a slip and fall. Some may not even experience any pain or discomfort, but the underlying issue will began instantaneously. The issue I am referring to is degenerative changes along your spine. Whiplash ultimately accelerates the degenerative process.
Following most of these collisions, x-rays or some form of imaging are performed by the healthcare professional. The big thing is what happens next. I hear it all the time, "I feel fine, nothing is broken". This is awesome news that nothing is broken, but it doesn't change the straining of your neck muscles from being jerked around. Muscle relaxers relax the muscles, but there is more to healing properly from a whiplash injury.A study performed demonstrated that 39% of whiplash patients, displayed no abnormal findings upon immediate radiographic imaging (ie x-rays), however degenerative changes were displayed 5-10 years following. If we were to base it solely on pain, which many people do, well that same study discusses how 50% of whiplash patients reported chronic neck pain 15 years after the trauma.There are 3 phases that I am going to briefly discuss as well as how chiropractic will be one of the most important healthcare professionals you could see following a whiplash injury.
The three phases are acute inflammation, regeneration, and remodeling. Acute inflammation occurs in the first 72 hours following the impact. The second phase is the regeneration phase, which occurs after the 72 hours for up to 6-8 weeks following impact. The third phase is the remodeling phase, which begins from 6-8 weeks up to 6-12 months. These three phases have uniqueness to each, but all are critical to the health of not only your spine, but your overall well being. Each phase is separate and has a unique form of treatment. Step one is to reduce inflammation as quickly as possible from the area of trauma. The second phase is to align fibers correctly to improve the healing within, to avoid long term complications. The third phase is ensure the fibers are healing properly.
We at Gonstead Family Chiropractic in San Diego deal with these types of cases regularly. We have an amazing front office whom deals with insurance companies and attorneys flawlessly, taking a large weight off of your shoulders. We also have a lot of great networks throughout San Diego, to ensure you receive the high care whether it be legal representation or healthcare that coincides with your chiropractic adjustments.
The matter is not a "if", but rather a "when". And "when" it does happen, we will be here to help you get back on your feet as fast as possible and live a long health lifestyle.
-Dr Zach Beatty, DC
Gonstead Family Chiropractic
Study mentioned in the article can be found here - Panjabi