Doctor John J Kozik D.C.
"Whiplash" is the common name given to an injury in which there is a hyperextension (increased backward motion), hyperflexion (increased forward motion), injury to the cervical (neck) spine. Its name comes from the fact that the spine is held in place in the mid-back by the attachment of the rib cage. Any movement, therefore, to which the spine may be subjected, as in the case of an auto accident, or severe fall, commonly results in the neck being (whipped) injured.
A typical example of a common injury to the neck region is illustrated in the rear-end auto collision. The driver, not suspecting such an incident, is relaxed. The force from behind causes the head to quickly flip backwards and then thrust forward by the deceleration (quick stopping) motion.
This type of rapid movement and the manner in which the head is thrust about has been termed "whiplash". Many injuries of this nature are not immediately felt by the injured person. Authorities estimate that the injuries may not be felt for several hours of even days following the incident.
Examples of reaction from an injury of the nature could be: headaches; visual disturbance; stiffness of the neck; restriction of movement; shoulder/neck/arm pain; and neuralgia; to name but a few.
Due to the nature of "whiplash" injuries, the victim is often unaware that he or she has been injured. Oftentimes from 12 to 24 hours after the accident they realize something is wrong.
It is absolutely essential to have an examination by a doctor who is trained to examine the spine and related structures, and who understands the dynamics of the "whiplash" injury in order to rule out future problems.
In most cases, muscles and ligaments will heal and the pain associated with "whiplash" will disappear, but the disc, having no blood supply, does not heal, so the pain continues. The tearing of the ligaments and the trauma to the cervical spine (neck vertebrae) can often result in significant spinal derangements, which if left undetected and uncorrected, will result in degenerative changes to the neck region.
The Science of Chiropractic is particularly concerned with the structural balance of the spine and nervous system. Careful attention is paid to proper alignment and mobility of the spine. Should you become involved in any accident or fall in which you suspect that your spine, particularly your neck, may have received a strain or sprain injury, consult your doctor of chiropractic for an examination.
Prompt attention to this type of injury can help to avoid many of the symptoms which could develop at a later date.