Whiplash is a fairly common injury that happens to a person’s neck if they are involved in a sudden acceleration-deceleration incident, usually a car accident. Before cars existed, the term was “railway spine”, describing similar injuries to people involved in train crashes. The term whiplash came into use in 1928 and describes damage to both the bone structure and soft tissues of the neck.

Recent studies using high-speed cameras and sophisticated crash dummies have determined that after the rear impact, the lower cervical vertebrae (lower bones in the neck) are forced into a position of hyperextension while the upper cervical vertebrae (upper bones in the neck) are in a hyperflexed position. This leads to an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine after the rear impact that is different from the normal motion. It is thought that this abnormal motion causes damage to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together (ligaments, facet capsules, muscles).

What are the most common symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptoms related to whiplash include:

What is the treatment for whiplash?

The most important issue in the management of whiplash is optimal education of the patient about the injury. This includes information on the cause, potential treatments, and likely outcomes. Patients should understand that this is a real injury, but that nearly all patients have the ability to fully recover.

Patients involved in early range of motion exercises have been shown to have a more reliable and rapid improvement in their symptoms. This treatment typically involves rotational exercises performed 10 times per hour as soon as symptoms allow within the first four days of the accident.

At AZ Chiropractic, we can help you recover from whiplash. Our treatment plans are comprehensive with everyone from the physiotherapist, to the chiropractor, to the massage therapist in one office. Stop suffering from pain due to whiplash. Call us and let us help you.