Whiplash is a non-medical term that was first used in 1928 when pilots were injured when landing airplanes on air craft carriers when their heads were snapped forwards and back as they came to a sudden stop.
The medical terms used to describe whiplash in Fort Collins include, but are not limited to, cervical hyperextension injury, Cervical Acceleration Deceleration (CAD) injury, cervical sprain or ligament injury, and cervical strain or muscle/tendon injury. Even with these descriptive terms, “whiplash” has continued to be used in reference to motor vehicle accidents and is the term I will use for simplicity. Other common causes include falling on the ice where your head strikes the ground, sports injuries, assault and battery, and shaken baby syndrome.
Why Whiplash Occurs:
We cannot control or stop our heads from moving beyond our normal ROM (Range of Motion) because the speed of the impact is faster than we can contract our neck muscles. This even happens at slow speeds of 5-10 mph, which has been shown to fast enough to tear spinal ligaments in the neck, while at 20 mph little to no injury may occur to the occupant is some circumstances.
I know that seems strange, so I will go into an explanation. In a low speed accident where there is little to no damage to the car, the energy of the impact is transferred through the metal to the occupant. Where in a faster collision, the metal crushes and absorbs more of the impact so less is transferred to the individual.
The most common symptoms in an auto accident are neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. Many times following a whiplash injury, patients experience symptoms that seem unexplainable like pain in the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, or even in the arms.
Other problems may include vision problems, ringing in the ears, low or mid back pain, dizziness, and fatigue. Concentration may also be affected, with grades dropping unexpectedly for students, emotional changes, irritability, depression, temper issues, and even sleeping problems.
Mild brain injuries can occur even without impact to the head, and can cause difficulty remembering how to perform routine tasks and like cooking your favorite recipe that you have made countless times, tiredness, fatigue, losing your place in mid thought, and repeating yourself in conversations.
Symptoms can occur immediately, days, weeks or even months later after an accident. Sometimes the more injured areas overshadow the lesser injured areas until the symptoms calm down as we facilitate your body to repair itself.
Often times these symptoms can resolve in a couple of months of treatment working on the underlying structures, but may take more than a year in some cases. There is no reliable way to predict how quickly your body will repair itself since there are so many factors that affect healing.
The research has shown that outcomes are better when mobilization and manipulation, aka the adjustment, are performed promptly following an accident rather than waiting weeks or months to seek chiropractic care. Our Fort Collins whiplash treatment goal is to get you back to pre-accident state as quickly as possible. So if you are looking for an evidence based solution to your aches and pains caused by a whiplash injury in Fort Collins give us a call at 970-491-9191..