Whiplash: the Silent Killer


Ms. Johnson was on her way to start a new job as an accountant when she was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Although she had no visible injuries, she noticed her head and neck didn’t feel quite right after the accident.

Severe headaches and neck pain plagued her for the next several years. Physical therapy made little difference and prescription painkillers and muscle relaxers made her feel more “like a Zombie” than herself.

Then one day she heard that chiropractic care could help with her headaches. She scheduled an appointment to see if there was anything that could be done for her.

“It absolutely blew my mind,” Ms. Johnson says. “The doctor was able to determine all the problems causing my symptoms areas by simply asking me how I felt and doing an exam of the affected areas.”

After a short period of chiropractic care, the pain started to abate and her health started to improve. “I don’t even want to imagine what my life would be like today if I had continued on the path of endless prescription drugs,” she said.

For car accident victims, who are often left in debilitating pain, a doctor of chiropractic can be a beacon of hope. While many doctors prescribe painkillers as a first line of treatment, chiropractors can help heal even severe motor vehicle injuries without the use of drugs.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Head and neck injuries are the most common injuries sustained during car accidents—and often some of the hardest to treat. Nearly 300,000 whiplash injuries occur each year, many at low speeds. It takes only a 2.5 mile-per-hour change in speed to injure the neck.

Although half of all whiplash injuries are the result of rear collisions, they can occur from an impact in any direction. Frontal crashes account for 30 percent of motor vehicle neck injuries.

When a part of the body is whipped back and then forward beyond its normal limits, micro-tears can develop in the surrounding ligaments. Yet many accident victims don’t notice any pain at first. It’s not until the micro-tears start to swell that the symptoms set in, including: whiplash

  • Blurred vision
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • Arm pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Low back pain

Soft-tissue injuries like whiplash can take a long time to heal. One study found that more than 70 percent of people who visited the emergency room after a car accident were still in pain six weeks later. Other researchers have noted that nearly half of whiplash sufferers continue to experience symptoms three months later, while 25 percent remain symptomatic for six months.

Without proper treatment, some injuries can continue to cause pain for years. As soft tissue injuries heal, they develop scar tissue. If the spine is not aligned and full range of motion isn’t recovered before scarring sets in, it can ultimately inhibit normal functioning and even lead to spinal degeneration.

How Chiropractic Care Helps

Because chiropractors are taught how to treat back and neck pain without pharmaceutical help, a doctor of chiropractic is uniquely positioned to help car accident victims avoid the prescription drug cycle.

Using a variety of drug-free techniques, from spinal adjustments to electric muscle stimulation to rehabilitative exercises, chiropractors can:

Relieve pain. Soft-tissue injuries may take months to fully heal, but a chiropractor can often provide pain relief much quicker than that. Some car accident victims report up to an 80 percent reduction in discomfort after just a few weeks of chiropractic care.

Restore mobility. The soreness and stiffness from a motor vehicle injury can inhibit movement. Chiropractors work with patients to help get them moving again as quickly as possible so they can regain full range of motion before scar tissue develops.

Support long-term healing. The muscle weakness resulting from a car accident can leave patients vulnerable to re-injury. Chiropractic care often involves rehabilitative exercises that improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine.

If you or someone you know has been in a car accident please give us a call to set up an initial consultation. When it comes to tendon and ligament injuries, time is of the essence and the longer a problem goes unchecked, the harder it is to treat and the worse the final outcome could be.

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