According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 more than six million motor vehicle collisions occurred. And of those six million accidents, more than two million of the people involved were seriously injured or disabled as the result of it. Whiplash is a type of injury that is due to the neck being jolted around very quickly, resulting in misaligned cervical (neck) vertebrae, torn ligaments injured discs and even fractures of the bones. Whiplash can also result in injury to the brain leading to concussion symptoms. Many people are under the impression that in order to get injured form a whiplash, they have to be in a pretty serious accident, but truly, it only takes speeds from 5-10 miles per hour to induce whiplash and result in injury to the tissues. Think about it this way, if the accident put dents in your vehicle, don’t you think that it may have had detrimental effects on your spine? Unfortunately most people in Boise and the Treasure Valley think that because they weren’t bleeding or had broken bones, that they are fine. This isn’t the case and many people with injuries from whiplash can experience permanent damage, long-term health problems and even complete disability, if the neck isn’t treated properly.
Many symptoms commonly associated with whiplash injuries include neck and shoulder pain, headaches, numbness and tingling into the arms, dizziness, blurred vision and in some cases depression. Symptoms may develop almost immediately following the injury, but they can take a few days or weeks to show up. You should not wait to seek medical or chiropractic treatment until pain arrives, but be proactive and seek care almost immediately following the accident. Back in the day, we thought that rest and relaxation would be good to help heal whiplash, but recent research published in 2015 shows the exact opposite. They found that keeping your neck moving and continuing basic activities of your daily life is in fact better for it. Others have found that being stagnant could make matters worse and prolong the healing process.
So what do you do if you are involved in a car accident and you aren’t sure if you have suffered injuries from whiplash? Get to a chiropractor that is knowledgeable with whiplash mechanisms of injury. Upon arrival, a detailed history and consultation will precede a thorough examination. A good history is vital in determining the extent of injury and severity of possible condition. A thorough examination may include range of motion, visually and/or with computerized surface electromyography to determine muscle guarding and function. A series of orthopedic and neurologic testing can also be done to determine current condition. Following examination, x-ray analysis should always be done to check for alignment of the spine, ligamentous instability and to rule out fracture or other serious conditions. Biomechanical studies have shown that the stability of the cervical curve is compromised following whiplash and create “S-shaped” abnormal curvature of the spine. This is typically due to whiplash and soft tissue damage that occurs. Left uncorrected it can lead to chronic pain and spinal degeneration.
Following examination, a review of findings will occur to explain the severity of the condition and the best treatment plan to help that person on the road to recovery from their whiplash injuries. Treatment may include chiropractic adjustments to help restore alignment and range of motion, specific exercises to strengthen damaged muscles and heal injured ligaments, a combination of ice and heat, and potentially even traction, to help alleviate pressure on the joints and discs of the spine and restore curvature of the cervical spine to normal. Treatment of whiplash is very safe and gentle and can help speed up the healing time, but that is dependent on the knowledge and precision of the trained chiropractor. Once symptoms have resolved, it is important to remember that the problem is not entirely fixed. Weaning off a treatment program is very important in monitoring the patient and letting their body properly stabilize post-correction. Otherwise, symptoms may return and permanent resolution of problem may not happen.
If you have been in a car accident (or other accident), contact the doctors at Modern Chiropractic Center for a complimentary consultation to see if you may have suffered an injury due to whiplash. Even if you believe that your car accident was ‘minor’, it is very important for your long-term spinal health to make sure your spine is uninjured. Call the office at 208-629-1904 to get scheduled!
car accidents / Chiropractic / Chiropractic Care / whiplash
Through our daily lives, we have all encountered a ‘muscle knot.’ We try to work them out and then suddenly they turn into something that we have had for years and years and it becomes ‘our normal.’ “Oh yea, I have always had tight muscles” is something that is commonly said. Or the statement, “I hold all my stress in my shoulders.” These statements are things that are heard time and time again, especially in chiropractic clinics across the Boise valley. A lot of people have these muscle knots and the question that many of us don’t ask ourselves is “why?”
There are a few different reasons why muscle knots and tension can occur. The three biggest reasons are:
Repetitive trauma: Repetitive trauma can be the things we do every single day, like typing on a keyboard throughout the day, texting, or holding the phone to our ears periodically over time.
Constant trauma to the body: Constant pressure is typically referred to as our postures that we practice (or don’t practice) everyday; i.e. sitting at a desk all day or driving truck for a living or lifting boxes all day.
But why do these muscle knots occur? As you can imagine form the 3 reasons above, it could be something that you do every day or from something that happened years ago. Regardless of how it happened, the only way to get rid of those knots is to figure out the cause and work on improving it. For example, when sudden injuries occur, a lot of damage can occur to the muscles, the spine and the ligaments surrounding the spine. When this trauma occurs, our muscles tend to tighten up or spasm to protect the injured area. But unless the spinal alignment or ligament instability is addressed, there is no way that the muscles will ever loosen up. This is why people who have had trauma in their past who have tried therapies like physical therapy or massage therapy still have no progress in permanently removing their knots; It is because they haven’t addressed the spinal alignment. Finding a good corrective, spinal rehabilitation chiropractor is vital to the success of strengthening the spine and then finding a good massage therapist to relieve the knots.
Repetitive traumas experienced daily, like typing on a keyboard or holding the phone to your ear while taking phone calls, are another big reason why a lot of people deal with knots. The thing about repetitive traumas is that they slowly become our constant traumas, which then change our posture over time. The ligaments in our spine can be injured suddenly or over time. It only takes ten minutes of a sustained repetitive or constant trauma to change the ligaments. When this happens, our postures weaken and then the muscles surrounding our spines have to help hold us up to maintain our postures. This causes overuse and the muscles react by creating knots and adhesions. Massage therapy can relax and loosen these muscles made sore and tight by bad posture, but the only way to fully and permanently relieve them, is to correct the posture.
We must first recognize what we are doing wrong in order to correct it. Some people sit at a desk all day for their job. Depending on the “ergonomics”, this can worsen our posture over time. Making sure we have a good ergonomic workstation is the first key to correcting our postures. Make sure your desk is at the level of your arms, your feet can rest flat on the floor and your screen at the level of your eyes are some of the most important aspects to a good ergonomic workstation. Headsets are vital so we aren’t kinking our necks either. If your work station needs adjusting, you should check out (http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/cuergoguide.html) for a detailed approach to improving your ergonomic setup.
Doing exercises to strengthen the thoracic spine are important, but should only be recommended and prescribed after speaking with a corrective care chiropractor to determine which exercises are best for you. Taking breaks regularly is also very important. Getting up every fifteen minutes to stretch and walk around, drinking plenty of water and if you have a break, foam rolling out your legs and back will help you from developing these knots and offset the effects of sitting in a desk.
Some of the best ways to remedy tight muscles at home are exercises that are individualized to you. More general tings that offer temporary relief include foam rolling, using lacrosse balls to target tight muscles and knots, and Epsom salt baths. To figure out why you are having knots is the most important thing in combating them. Again, this is why it is so important to have a chiropractor who specializes in posture to help alleviate with your pain and your knots. Call (208) 629-1904 to schedule a free consultation today.
car accidents / Chiropractic / Health / sports injuries / work injuries