Your head weighs between 10-15 pounds, roughly the size of a bowling ball. When you are in a motor vehicle collision, the force is transferred from the car, to your seat belt and into your body. Your head continues to move in the direction of the collision until the tissues in the neck absorb the force and stop your head.
However, depending on the amount of the force, your head may move like a pendulum, swinging in opposite directions several times before coming to rest. Even the most minor fender benders can lead to a rapid stretching of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments supporting the neck which can lead to instability and dysfunction.
Whiplash injuries commonly happen in car accidents; your body slams into your seat belt, but your head continues moving forward past it’s normal limit. This can result in chronic headaches and joint pain.
Many people with whiplash that undergo chiropractic care report an end to their symptoms and improved spinal curves. Because chiropractic adjustments can help restore proper motion to your spinal bones and assure proper healing, it is recommended that whiplash victims see a chiropractor. Chiropractors can help you get away from the pain caused by a whiplash accident. Those who wait to be treated often find that spinal instability and even scar tissue will cause them to need more frequent chiropractic adjustments through their lifetime than a whiplash victim that visited their chiropractor right away.
When the alignment and motion of the spine is impacted from the force of a car collision, it may or may not be painful immediately after the accident. It may take months or years to develop neck stiffness, soreness, joint degeneration (arthritis), headaches, and other health challenges. But rest assured that many cases we see in our office were set in motion years prior to seeking help. Many times when our doctors see x-rays of a spine they can tell within 5 years of when a significant car accident or other neck related injury occurred.
If you ever suffered from a car collision or other similar injury such as a concussion or sports injury, do not hesitate to get your spine checked by your chiropractor.