If you are in a moving vehicle and another vehicle hits yours from behind, the motion will likely move your head backward then forwards quickly. This violent movement strains the neck and can injure its disks, nerves, tendons, or bones. Thus, you do not need to be moving at high speeds to suffer whiplash.
People in vehicles moving at slow speeds of five mph are reported to suffer from the condition. Close to a million people suffer whiplash from minor vehicle accidents annually, with a few sustaining lingering pains for years.
The condition is not limited to people in moving vehicles. Other situations in which an individual can get whiplash include sports falls and horseback riding. Also, participating in bungee jumping, punching, shaking someone vigorously, or having a roller coaster stop suddenly can cause whiplash.
Many people can be in the same vehicle or situation, but not everyone will experience whiplash the same way. The reason for this is that the condition affects different people differently. An individual’s physical stature, height, gender, and age can make one experience more severe neck injuries compared to another.
The size of the vehicle, its seats, and the position of the head during the incident will affect whiplash outcomes. Also, the direction of impact and speeds involved are factors to consider.
Just because you are not experiencing neck pain following an incident does not mean you do not have whiplash. The symptoms vary from one individual to the next, and one can experience any combination of the following:
Neck, shoulders, jaw, arms, or back stiffness
Dizziness and vertigo
Fatigue and ringing ears
Nervousness and difficulty sleeping
Unlike other injuries where a physician can see where the problem lies just by looking, whiplash is very different. The condition will not even appear on an X-ray since it affects the ligaments and muscles. Some doctors send their patients to specialists who use MRIs and computer tomography to diagnose the condition. This is especially if the pain and discomfort continue to persist for over a month and a half.
However, visiting a chiropractor is one of the best ways of dealing with whiplash. These professionals have the training required to ease the pain and discomfort resulting from this condition. Some of the strategies these professionals use to treat the condition include:
Spinal manipulation – The chiropractor will identify the misaligned neck joins and move them to the place they ought to be. He or she uses gentle swift thrusts in the proper direction to achieve relief
Soft tissue therapy – These therapies are ideal for whiplash patients since whiplash affects the soft tissue in the neck. Proper application of these therapies restores muscle function
Muscle stimulation and relaxation – This is the chiropractor’s first option when dealing with a muscle injury. This involves stretching muscles to achieve high tension, then relaxing them to maximum contraction
Instrument-assisted therapy – Here, chiropractors use hand-held devices to apply force on specific areas of the spine. Gentle strokes with the instrument lead to relief from pain and discomfort
Specific trigger point therapy – Where the chiropractor identifies abnormal spinal joints (subluxations) that lead to unnatural motion, he or she will correct it with this therapy. Placing pressure directly on the area using fingers can alleviate the tension