Neck pain is one of the most common injuries suffered in a car accident. Chiropractors provide a large portion of the care of neck injuries suffered in whiplash cases.
Seat belts and shoulder restraints have been very successful in reducing serious injury but have also been responsible to increasing the severity of minor neck injuries due to the abrupt stopping of forward body motion in the post collision phase. Forward bending of the head is often the most irritating phase of the collision.
Irritation and injury to the neck muscles and joints may cause pain that radiates down the arm. The pain may be referred from irritation to the muscles and joints. Often pain that radiates down the arm is associated with pinching or injury to the spinal nerves but joint and muscle injury may also cause pain in the arm.
Disc problems in the neck from whiplash may cause pain that is subtle or very severe. Usually disc pain comes and goes. Pressing on the joints of the neck or muscles may cause disc pain to flare. In some cases headaches are the only symptom from a disc injury caused by whiplash. Whiplash may also cause pain in the shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand.
Neck pain from a whiplash may be delayed as much as weeks after the event. Most people experience pain 1-72 hours after a whiplash if they are injured. A large part of the pain from a whiplash neck injury can involve damaged muscles. Muscle damage can serve as a potent source of neck pain. Healing of muscles can take months of longer. Myofascial release techniques are often very beneficial in muscular injury in conjunction with Chiropractic adjustments.
Dr. Tom Etter has over ten years of practice experience treating back pain, neck pain, whiplash and sports injuries. His office is located at 112th and Strangline and serves Olathe, Kansas, Lenexa, Kansas and the Johnson County Kansas area.
“What can I do to prevent back pain?” is one of the most common question back pain sufferers want to know. There are several basic techniques for sitting and lying that are good preventative measures to help reduce the likelyhood of back pain.
For people who sit for their work the correct sitting position is very important. Sitting puts more pressure on the disc and improper sitting may irritate the disc. Sitting in a slouched position rounds the lower back and can irritate disc pain. Tilting the seat of a chair forward slightly is one technique to maintain the ideal curve of the lower back. Foam wedges with a cut out for the tailbone are another effective way of maintaining the proper curve in the lower back if a chair is not adjustable or inadequate generally. Other types of foam padding may also be added to the chair to give better support. Foam cushions that fit along the back of the chair are also able to support the lumbar curve. Any type of support should fit to support the part of the lower back that curves forward the most. The pelvic tilt is one exercise that is especially able to benefit those people who have back pain associated with sitting.
Getting up in the morning with back pain is another common complaint of back pain sufferers. For back pain a firm mattress is recommended. The firm mattress gives optimal support to the curves of the lower back while sleeping. Sleeping on the stomach is usually not recommended due to the overrounding of the curves of the lower back. I very firm mattress may be supportive enough for those who must sleep on their stomachs. Persons with flat curves of the lower back are probably more able to sleep on the stomach.
Waterbeds are less probably less popular today than years past. Waterbeds can be good for some back pain sufferers but not for others. There is no definitive last word on waterbeds for back pain that I am aware of.
The pelvic tilt exercise is probably the best exercise for back pain involving the discs and facet joints. The pelvic tilt is often very beneficial to do before getting out of bed in the morning to help warm up the back before standing. The gym ball is the best way to strengthen the core at home. A 10 minute routine done every other day can go a long way to preventing back pain and strengthening the core.
Dr. Tom Etter has been in Chiropractic practice in Olathe and Lenexa Kansas for over ten years. He has ergonomics training through the BackSafe/SittingSage program. Dr. Etter’s Chiropractic practice focuses on the treatment of back pain, neck pain and sports injuries. Dr. Etter’s treatments combine both traditional Chiropractic techniques and myofascial release treatments which are focused on treating the muscular component of back and neck pain. Many effective Chiropractic and myofascial release treatments are available for sports injuries as well. Shin splints, shoulder pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel, elbow pain, and running injuries are all conditions that may be effectively treated.
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Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that causes people to seek Chiropractic care. Several key factors determine the degree of injury and the number and frequency of Chiropractic treatments needed to recover. As we age the elasticity of the muscles and ligaments of the neck decreases. Generally older individuals are less likely to be able to withstand a whiplash injury than younger people. The strength of the neck musculature is another important factor in resisting a whiplash injury. As we age the range of motion of the neck can decrease by up to 40%. The largest group of people injured by whiplash are in the 20-40 year old group. Children are much less likely to be injured due to higher seat backs and a springier spine. It has been estimated that children under 10 are up to 6X less likely than adults to be injured in a rear impact collision.
Women seem to be much more susceptible to whiplash injury than men and require a longer course of Chiropractic care to recover than men. Other factors that increase the severity of whiplash include osteoporosis, arthritis, and diabetes.
One factor that increases the severity of whiplash is if the head is turned at the time of impact. A turned head is up to 50% less flexible than looking straight ahead.
Shorter people generally have less risk of whiplash injury than taller persons. Shorter people do have a higher risk though of injury to the soft tissues of the neck including the blood vessels.
It has also been noted that surprise rear impacts result in more severe injury and more common injury.
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Chiropractors provide most of the care for whiplash associated neck pain in the US. As a general rule the base of the neck is the most susceptible to injury in a rear end collision. This is due to the fact that the lower vertebrae of the neck do most of the flexion and extension of the neck. The area of greatest injury to the neck in a whiplash is the 4th and 5th cervical verebrae. One study showed that disc injuries were most common in the middle and lower parts of the cervical spine (neck).
Lower back pain is a common injury in a whiplash as well. One study showed that 57% of persons involved in an auto accident had some degree of lower back pain. Broadside collisions seems to have a higher than average incidence of lower back pain as well. In side impact collisions the seat belt tends to be a factor in lower back pain. It has been shown that wearing only lap belts is a factor for increased injury to the lower back in side impact car accidents.
Head restraints have also not been shown to decrease the incidence of neck injury. The design of the back of the seat has been the most beneficial part of seat design to reduce neck injury. Most headrests are also improperly adjusted. The headrest should be directly behind the head.
Seat belts have been shown to be safe for pregnant women. Children seem to be especially prone to seat belt injury due to the fact that the seat belt is not designed to fit them properly.
One large study showed that drivers wearing seat belts were up to three times as likely to experience minor neck injury than those not wearing seat belts. The main reason that seat belts increase the incidence of neck injury is that the shoulder portion of the belt causes the neck to whip forward unrestrained in the deceleration phase of a rear end collision whiplash. The shoulder belt causes much greater forced bending of the neck on the deceleration phase.
Most auto insurance policies have a personal injury protection segment that covers the cost of Chiropractic care. Even minor accidents that do not significantly damage a vehicle can cause a minor neck injury. For mild whiplash injuries the current recommendation is 21 Chiropractic treatments.
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The IT band or Ilio-tibial band is a muscle on the side of the knee that may cause pain in the side of the knee. Usually the pain from IT band syndrome gradually increases over a few days to weeks. The pain is often associated with running although non active people may also experience IT band pain. Downhill running seems to be one particularly aggrevating activity and the pain usually occurs while extending the leg just prior to the heel strike. A squeaking sound may also be heard with bending and extending the knee.
The cause of IT band is a tight IT band muscle that rubs against the bones at the side of the knee while the knee is slightly to moderately bent. The most common causes are downhill running and jogging in which the knee is often slightly bent.
Usually tenderness in IT band pain is felt just above the joint line of the knee on the outside of the knee. Tenderness is most pronounced when the knee is slightly bent.
The most effective Chiropractic treatment for IT band is myofascial release treatment to the IT band where it attaches into the knee. Usually 4-8 treatments over 2-3 weeks are effective in alleviating pain from IT band. Rest and avoiding the aggravating activities are also helpful. Chiropractic adjustments to the knee, hip, the sacro-iliac joints are also helpful.
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