In Babies and children, Posture

Chiropractic and Whiplash

Whiplash is defined as rapid movement of the head backward, forward or side to side. The spine is unnaturally stretched or compressed and the tissues around the neck are compromised. 

A big danger with whiplash injuries is that you may not feel very much at the time because the symptoms may often take years to develop. Progressive damage may occur below your level of awareness.

We often see people in our practice who have had a whiplash injury many years ago but are only starting to feel their effects months or years later. Symptoms include, but are not limited to neck pain, headaches, pain in the upper or lower spine, inability to move the neck and head from side to side, reduced mobility, changes in behaviour or mood.

It doesn’t even take a high-speed collision for you to get whiplash; injury to the spine can happen in a low speed accident. The threshold of injury to the neck was recorded at 8 km/ph in one study of rear impact collisions. Another study shows that cars can often withstand a collision of up to 16 km/h. So, just because there is no damage to your car does not mean there is no damage to your body.

A very important thing to take note of is that the damage done by whiplash-type injuries is not limited to the neck and back. Mild traumatic brain injury can result from whiplash trauma. Often the symptoms are referred to as post-concussion syndrome. This condition, often maligned in the past, has now been well-validated in recent medical literature, especially in contact sports.

Children and Whiplash

Whiplash injuries are often overlooked in children involved in collisions. It is not until a child reaches puberty that their spines grow and mature to capacity. Because their neck and spine is much weaker at a younger age, a seemingly mild impact can result in a whiplash injury which can have a lasting impact on their health.

Children and infants are unable to effectively express their symptoms until the problem is advanced and some injuries may not be obvious. Therefore, it is important that you take simple steps to reduce the risk of you and your family being injured in a collision. Read more on how to do that in our article on car seat safety.

It is important to remember that children can be injured in this manner, even through rough play. Any injury, if left untreated, can lead to problems with spinal development later in life. 

Chiropractic Care and Whiplash 

We often hear of whiplash as a result of a car accident, rough play or a sport or work injury. Whatever the reason for whiplash, it warrants a thorough chiropractic check-up. Limit damage to a growing spine by having your child checked by a chiropractor if you suspect a whiplash injury.

Part of the damage done in a whiplash injury is structural distortion of the spine that affects the spinal cord, brain, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Chiropractors are expertly trained at analysing these structures and identifying where the damage is and correcting it.

One mistake that is often made in treating whiplash is assuming that the damage is purely muscular in nature and ignoring the structural distortion. Doing this could cause persistent problems or recurrent issues to develop. This might be one reason why chiropractic care was more effective than physiotherapy treatment for whiplash.

Here at Peak Chiropractic, our team is committed to helping you restore the natural, proper alignment of your spine and nervous system, leaving you better equipped to thrive everyday and live your bigger life. 

References:

César Fernández-de-las-Peñas, J. Fernández-Carnero, L. Palomeque del Cerro & J. C. Miangolarra-Page(2011) Manipulative Treatment vs. Conventional Physiotherapy Treatment in Whiplash Injury, Journal of Whiplash & Related Disorders, 3:2, 73-90, DOI: 10.3109/J180v03n02_06

Freeman et. al. in Spine, Vol. 23, Number 9, 1998, p. 1046

http://www.gbbuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Threshold_Test.pdf

Panjabi MM, Grauer JN (1997): “Whiplash produces a S-shape curvature of the neck with hyperextension at lower levels. ” Spine 22 (21): 2489-94.

Panjabi MM, Cholewicki J, Nibu K, Grauer JN, Babat LB, Dvorak J, Bar HF (1998-12-01): “[Biomechanics of whiplash injury].” Orthopade 1998 Dec; 27(12): 813-9.

Koji Kaneoka, Koshiro Ono, Satoshi Inami and Koichiro Hayashi (99-04-15). “Motion analysis of cervical vertebrae during whiplash loading.” Spine 24(8): 763-770

Characteristics of Specific Automobile Bumpers in Low Velocity Impacts, SAE 940916

Harvard Health Publications, Whiplash, 9/1/2009

Spine Research Institute of San Diego, www.srisd.com

Clinical Biomechanics, Cervical Spine Curvature During Simulated Whiplash, Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2004

American Journal of Medicine, Whiplash: A Review of a commonly Misunderstood Injury, June 1 2001

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Adjustment vs Manipulation, Dr Greg Venning