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How 5 MPH Can Seriously Injure Your Neck in An Accident

whiplashMotor vehicle collisions happen every day and most of the patients we see in the office have been involved in at least one. They will often describe them as “minor fender benders” and that they were fine within a couple of days. The problem is that from a symptom standpoint they probably feel fine, but from a functional standpoint they are not. When your body is involved in a trauma your brain tells the joints and muscles not to move how they normally would because it’s injured. Joints get their nutrition from normal movements and can get wear and tear damage from dysfunctional movement. After a trauma normal motion needs to be restored as quickly as possible or the potential for long lasting complications increases. We see a wide variety of injuries from motor vehicle collisions. There are a lot of different factors that will determine the injury such as the speed the accident happened at, where the vehicle was struck, type of cars involved, if a seat belt was worn, and even how healthy you are prior to the accident. Most commonly we see neck pain from whiplash injuries, shoulder, chest and low back pains from seat belts, and knee/hip injuries from striking something inside the vehicle. It all depends on the kind of accident the person was involved in so a thorough history is very important. In many accidents there will be very little damage to the vehicle. Many times people think that this means that they did not have any injuries. The issue is that when there is little damage to the car there is generally more damage to the driver and passengers. That is why many cars have crumple zones, this way the majority of the force will be absorbed by the car instead of you. Injuries can happen in accidents that occur while going less than 5 mph, so just because the car does not have any damage does not mean you did not suffer an injury. The restoration of normal joint motion is the biggest aspect of care after an injury like this but there are many others to consider. There is very often injury to the muscles and ligaments around the joints due to the amount of force they were put under during the collision. There needs to be soft tissue work to correct these or normal joint motion cannot be established. Often times with injury to a muscle we will see the stabilizing muscles turn off. Corrective exercise is needed to get these muscles turned back on so they can resume their normal function. Inflammation is another big issue with these types of injuries so we want to work to reduce that, which will help significantly with the reduction in pain. If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, or any other significant trauma, you should be checked by a chiropractor. We will often find problems that you did not know you had and can effectively treat them before they become bigger issues for you.

– Dr. Rob