The definition of a hyper-flexion/hyper-extension injury, otherwise known as whiplash, is any injury to the neck. Most whiplash injuries occur in motor vehicle accidents, often when the vehicle is struck at the front or rear-ended, resulting in great risk of injury to the occupants of the impacted vehicle.
Few people understand the large majority of whiplash injuries occur in motor vehicle accidents involved in low speed collisions. Research confirms that injuries can be sustained in motor vehicle accidents in speeds as low as 6 MPH, with great potential for long-term permanent damage.
Whiplash affects three different spinal tissues: joints, ligaments and muscles. The spinal joints allow for movement between the vertebrae. The ligaments attach bone to bone and exist to keep the vertebrae in their correct position. The muscles around the joint provide support and allow for freedom of voluntary movement in the joint. Whiplash damages all three of these types of tissue.
Muscles and ligaments are abnormally stretched and torn during a whiplash injury. Untreated, these injuries eventually form permanent scar tissue. This scar tissue negatively impacts the joint, preventing it form having it's full range of motion, causes the tissue to be weaker than healthy tissue, and leads to hypersensitivity to pain, creating a future of chronic pain for the injured person.
In addition, decay and degeneration can occur in the joint due to the lack of healthy motion. This process can start in as soon as a few days or weeks following the injury. These changes are permanent and lead to even more chronic pain and disability for the injured person.
Chiropractic adjustments restore normal alignment and proper motion into a joint, allowing for better nerve function and faster healing. Long term chiropractic care critically impacts the onset of injury-related degeneration. Research shows that accidents at 6 MPH or lower triggers a cascade of injuries to the movable joints found in the body and early onset degeneration. Getting chiropractic care as soon as possible following an injury is absolutely critical in restoring normal function, stimulating the healing process, providing pain relief and preventing long term complications often accompanying whiplash injuries.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a recent motor vehicle accident, it's imperative to get evaluated right away. Pain levels can be deceiving and not indicative of the level of injury to a given joint. Appropriate chiropractic care following an injury such as whiplash can help a person get back to feeling great and preventing long-term problems that can become permanent and disabling. Especially if you are injured, make the smart decision and go see your chiropractor right away.