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Just the Facts on Whiplash

By Sara Butler

Unless you were raised in the forest by wolves, you’ve certainly heard of whiplash. Whiplash is a very common injury. It occurs when the force of a sudden stop forces the neck forward and then quickly backward. It can be a very serious condition that can have ramifications on your quality of life for years after the injury occurs. Here are a few facts about whiplash and how your chiropractor may be able to help should this injury ever befall you or someone you love.

A Little Whiplash History

Prior to 1928, whiplash was known as “railway spine” since it was a condition caused by accidents on trains. Cars have become more popular over the years, and as it was studied more it eventually became known as whiplash. In 1995 it broadened, even more, to be known as “whiplash related disorders” (WAD) which are now used to describe a larger spectrum of problems that can be the result of whiplash.

  • WAD has been divided into three main categories:
  • WAD I: Patient is experiencing symptoms but pain cannot be reproduced during the examination.
  • WAD IIa: Patient has symptoms, pain can be reproduced during the examination but they have a normal range of motion in the neck, as well as normal sensation and strength.
  • WAD IIb: Same as WAD IIa, but the range of motion is decreased.
  • WAD III: Weakness and/or sensation problems are present upon examination.

The main benefit to breaking WAD up into these different categories is it allows your chiropractor to better be able to predict your prognosis based on the research done in previous cases. Basically, it can let you know what you can expect from your recovery and how long it may take.

Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash come in a wide variety. No two people may experience it the same way, but in general, the symptoms include:

  • Neck discomfort or pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain and rigidity
  • Lethargy
  • Jaw pain
  • Dizziness
  • Arm pain
  • Arm weakness
  • Ringing in ears
  • Visual disturbances

Even if you are in a car accident that didn’t do damage to your car, it’s a good idea to see your chiropractor. Even small impacts can transfer force to the inside of the vehicle and cause problems. The sooner you get to the chiropractor the sooner treatment can begin that may save you discomfort and pain in the long run.

If you have questions about whiplash, talk to your chiropractor during your next adjustment at The Joint Chiropractic. 

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