Unfortunately, car accidents are a fact of life and almost everyone will be involved in a car crash at some point in their lives. In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts every driver will be in at least one car crash every 10 years! While injuries from car accidents range from minor to severe or deadly, Whiplash related injuries are still some of the most common and under treated.
Soft tissue damage to the muscles and ligaments (Whiplash), especially the posterior ligament system of the spine. When healing of soft tissue occurs, the result is the formation of fibrous or scar tissue. This scar tissue will never function normally and is always weaker and more susceptible to re-injury.
As the neck moves, the openings for the spinal nerves change in size and irritate the spinal nerves. This slippage also directly irritates the spinal cord. This is called dynamic spinal stenosis and adversely affects the nervous system of the body causing pain and neurological interference.
This aberrant motion causes severe wear and tear on the vertebra and results in advanced degenerative changes to the spine, which will continue to worsen with the aging process unless proper spinal rehabilitation is carried out on a regular basis. The joint of the spine are highly efficient with a normal gliding motion that is equal to ice on ice. Unless these joints are traumatized, they will last a lifetime of the normal patient without degenerative changes.
This spinal instability is permanent in nature and causally related to the motor vehicle accident. The average car crash occurs in 200 milliseconds whereas the nervous system takes 350 milliseconds to respond. Therefore, the ligaments are ruptured and torn only during violent, abrupt trauma and not with everyday activities.
It is recognized that the majority of individuals with a motor vehicle injury will recover in 2-3 months. 10% of those injured will never fully functionally recover and will endure chronic pain and disability.
There are 3 reasons why this 10% do not recover:
1. Injury to the joints,
2. Injury to the intervertebral disc,
3. Injury to the alar ligaments.
(Barnsley, Lord, Bogduck, “Whiplash Injury Clinical Review”, Pain 58, 1994 pp 283-307)
Whiplash from car accidents are a very unique mechanism of injury and diagnosis that makes Whiplash injuries very difficult to diagnose and treat unless your physician is skilled, experienced and trained to treatment specifically.
Our doctor and staff at the Lancaster Spinal Health Center has a long history of successfully treating Whiplash related pain and providing a permanent solutions to prevent chronic problems in the future.