Rear End Collisions: Neck Pain, Whiplash, and What To Do About It

car accident injury chiropractorYou’re sitting at the light, waiting patiently for it to turn, when *BOOM* you’re struck from behind and jolted forward into the intersection. The person behind you was a little more concerned with their Instagram feed than driving and now you’re body is trying to deal with the consequences.  

The first sensation for most is shock, then taking inventory on any potential injuries, and finally dealing with the literal and figurative headaches that typically comes along with a rear end collision. If the severity of the accident leaves you in the position that you feel unsafe leaving the scene without medical care, please do not ignore it and seek immediate emergency medical care.

The physics of the car accident are such that the inertia from the force of the impact pushes the car forward underneath you then quickly decelerates, forcing a whip effect as the head and neck push back into the headrest then violently propel forward as the deceleration takes place. The ligament structures of the spine are the fibrous soft tissue components that hold the joints in a physiological barrier.  When pressed beyond the barrier, the ligaments sprain or tear to varying degrees, this results in severe inflammation and instability depending on the intensity of the damage. This sensation is commonly described as being a sense of weakness or inability to hold the head up as well as sharp shooting pain.  

It can take your body up to 10-14 days post-accident to full realize the extent on injury.We commonly have patients come in 2-3 days after the accident and have minimal complaints, then return a week later with a significant increase in symptoms.

Once any immediate medical emergencies have been addressed then it is time to seek care for recovery.  Chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapy are all integral components of a proper rehabilitation program for whiplash and neck pain related to an accident.The prompt and frequent intervention of soft tissue therapy prevents any long term adhesions and scarring and can minimize the permanent damage that is a result of the injury. The chiropractic care should be geared around restoring proper movement patterns within the cervical spine and other related joint components that may have been damaged. Finally the physical therapy will ensure that all damaged areas of the body get the adequate strength and mobility work needed to restore a functional level of movement and activity.

Be thorough when choosing a clinic to initiate your rehab with, be certain that they have a comprehensive outlook on care and will get you to the proper specialists as needed for your particular case.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Core Health Chiropractic for their insight into whiplash injuries.