Have you experienced whiplash recently? Maybe you were trying to send a simple text while driving and the people in the car in front of you slammed on their brakes. Unfortunately, you didn’t react in time and you hit the back of their car. You were initially in shock but within seconds you realized what happened. The stress of car damage, increasing insurance premiums, and the meeting with your boss in thirty minutes brought reality back like a punch in the face. You didn’t have time to think about whiplash!
Since the car you hit along with your own car had little damage after a full inspection by both you and the other driver, you turned down the expensive ride to the hospital in the white van with shiny lights. You actually contemplated going to the hospital but remembered last time you went, you spent six hours in the waiting room for them to eventually tell you that you were fine after giving you some Tylenol and the recommendations of “bed rest”.
Little did you know that you were going to have serious neck pain, known as “whiplash”, 72 hours later. It is not uncommon for complaints of neck pain, headaches, trouble swallowing and numbness in the arms and hands to appear a number of days after an accident.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, it is important to schedule a comprehensive chiropractic examination immediately afterward. A chiropractic examination will include a detailed assessment of spinal function and alignment after ruling out potential fractures. If you go to a the hospital instead of a chiropractor, the focus will be vertebral fractures, and if you don’t have that, you will be considered fine and told to simply get some bed rest, while your spinal alignment is ignored.
At the chiropractic office you will be treated for whiplash and also assessed for a condition called a subluxation that may cause slow, silent decay of your spine which can continue until it becomes permanent and you start to feel symptoms. A subluxation is a minor misalignment of a single vertebra in your spine that causes compression on delicate nerves that exit between the spinal bones.
Shocking research from Journal of the Canadian Dental Association in 2010 has exposed additional damage that may actually occur weeks to months after an accident, called Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Temporomandibular disorder is a collective term that embraces a number of clinical problems that involve the jaw and the surrounding muscles. If you notice jaw pain, clicking in the jaw when chewing gum, unexplained headaches, dizziness, hearing disturbances or muscle pain in the jaw or face, you may be a victim of delayed onset whiplash syndrome.
Research states that jaw disorder is more common in women after an accident and may spread from the jaw and head to becoming a more wide spread pain syndrome. Approximately 33% of people in a motor vehicle accident develop whiplash associated disorders such at TMD. Of whiplash-injured patients, approximately four times more patients have temporomandibular disorders one year after an accident compared to the evaluation immediately following the accident.
If you currently suffer from the symptoms described above or have been in a recent automobile accident, it is recommended that you seek a comprehensive chiropractic evaluation right away. And for prevention, put off sending that text while you are driving!