Whiplash and Chiropractic

Whiplash was a condition first described in the early 1900s as automobiles became more common and people started to crash into each other in those automobiles. Whiplash is known to produce such problems as neck pain, headache, blurred vision, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, numbness and back pain. Some persons may have very short and mild problems from a whiplash but other persons may have very long lasting problems. One study found that about 40% of persons with a whiplash had problems as much as two years later.
Headaches are one especially problematic whiplash injury and may last several years after the accident.
The first tests of the effects of whiplash started in the 50s. Volenteers were used to determine the effects of rear end impacts. The results showed that the head and neck were often subject to 2-3 times the force applied to the vehicle. The findings also showed that if the driver of the car being struck was unaware of the collision more force was transmitted to the neck and head. Smaller cars also accerelate the head more due to higher acceleration applied. It was also found that collisions in which the car being struck was not damaged were able to cause injury to a driver.
In the neck, the lower vertebrae are the most effected in a whiplash. The lower vertebrae from C4 to C7 absorb most of the impact and are the most likely injured. Disc injury is much less common in the upper neck as compared to the lower neck in whiplash. Lower back pain is another common problem from whiplash. One study showed over half of whiplash sufferers had lower back pain. Side impact collisions seem to be the most problematic for lower back pain. The lap belt portion of the seat belt tends to anchor the pelvis making for much more force to the hips and back. Persons wearing only lap belts are also much more likely to have back pain from a collision. The shoulder restraint harness is effective in this way to reduce back injuries from whiplash.
Seat belts have been very effective in reducing fatal collisions but have sometime made the injuries from slower impact collisions worse. Children are more prone to injury while wearing seat belts as well. For pregnant women studies have shown that seat belts do no expose them or the fetus to greater risk of injury.
Some of the other factors that increase the likelyhoold of more severe whiplash injuries include gender. Women are more prone to having extended problems with a whiplash. Also the having multiple whiplashes seems to make the problems worse. Having osteoporosis or degenerative joint problems made the effects of whiplash worse. Smaller people and kids are more often injured by seat belts as well. Surprise collisions are most likely to cause injury as well.

About drtom

I help people through chiropractic care and acupuncture.
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