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Chiropractic and Whiplash Injuries
By Dr. Amy Jennings

Anyone who has ever been involved in a rear-end collision knows the pain and distress that accompanies a whiplash injury. Many walk away from low velocity accidents (less than 25 mph) feeling very little pain or even no pain at all. However, if you are involved in a car accident, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. The symptoms of a whiplash injury may not completely manifest themselves for weeks, months, or even years in some cases. Just because you do not feel a lot of pain at first that does not mean that you haven't done permanent damage to your spine. There have been numerous studies that have shown that years after whiplash victims settle their insurance claims; about half of them still suffer with symptoms from their injuries.

Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, backward, forward or sideways, that results in damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. This is the most common injury to the neck that is sustained by a car accident. Some may feel symptoms of whiplash directly following the accident, such as:

  • pain in the neck and shoulders
  • dizziness
  • difficulty moving head around
  • headache

Others may not experience any immediate symptoms and get the false sense that they are uninjured by the accident. It only takes an impact of about 8mph to dent a steel bumper; what kind of impact do you think that your spine has taken? There are many latent or "hidden" symptoms that can occur days, weeks or even months after a car accident that if left untreated, can lead to chronic pain and problems for the rest of your life. Some of these symptoms or signs could be:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Dizzy spells or Balance issues
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Frequent illness, such as, cold or flu
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty sleeping/waking up
  • Low energy level

If you have been involved in a car accident, please do not hesitate to get your spine checked out. And if you do have pain that may have been caused by a previous accident, it is never too late to get some relief. All whiplash injuries, no matter how big or small, should be treated with chiropractic adjustments, massage and stabilizing exercises.

Please email questions for the next column to dramyjennings@gmail.com, fax to (412) 283-1062, or send to 1010 Clifton Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102.

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