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The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Whiplash

When most people think of whiplash they think of this:

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Or this:

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And if they’re a nerd they think of this:

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As a chiropractor for neck pain in Springfield, Illinois I know that all of these are correct. Over a million people a year suffer from whiplash. Most of the cases are from car accidents, but they can also occur after contact sports, falls, trauma, and being tackled by a people-pleasing boss. While most people recover from whiplash after a few months, there is the potential for it to turn into a chronic neck pain problem that they must deal with for the rest of their lives.

Whiplash is a neck injury from a forceful and fast back-and-forth movement.

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Exactly, except it’s your neck. (That one was actually for the nerds.). The head is quickly thrown backward and forward and can injure the bones in the spine, the spinal discs, and the ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tissues of the neck.

Many people assume that whiplash only occurs in bad car accidents or when Diana of Themyscira is particularly angry, but in reality, a car traveling at just 8 mph can cause the body to experience a 7 G-force in a rear impact collision.

In most cases, the symptoms aren’t felt right away as adrenaline and shock mask the immediate pain. After a few days, those who refused initial medical treatment trying to act like tough guys will begin to feel the whiplash symptoms of:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Tingling and numbness in the arms, hands, and legs
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • PTSD
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Travel Anxiety
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Blurred Vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory Problems
  • Depression

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The body is a natural healing machine and, over time, some of these symptoms may fade, but a recent study showed that after 20 years, 50% of patients were still dealing with whiplash symptoms following an accident. Whiplash injuries put patients at risk for long-term spinal cord injuries and nerve dysfunction.

The spinal cord is the main thoroughfare for our body’s nervous system. It carries the messages back and forth between the brain and the body to ensure that every single cell is functioning properly. Any damage to the spinal cord affects how those messages get sent, the quality of those messages, and the way the brain & body process the information. It’s like how at a slumber the game of telephone always starts with someone saying they want to sneak brownies down into the basement and ends with the weird next-door neighbor your mom made you invite lighting all the garbage cans on fire and riding off into the night on your dad’s bicycle never to be heard from again.

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Spinal cord injuries are not always immediately noticeable but don’t be fooled into thinking that a whiplash injury is localized to the neck. The cervical spine is connected to the rest of the spine, so injuries can travel down the spine and begin to cause mayhem in other areas of the body. A spinal cord injury could result in:

  • Decrease or loss of movement
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Spasms
  • Sexual functioning changes
  • Pain or stinging
  • Problems breathing
  • Inability to balance while walking

There’s also the threat of bleeding and swelling around the spinal cord that can lead to paralysis.

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Do I seem stressed? I’m not. There’s a simple solution. It’s important to seek the help of a chiropractor pretty immediately after an accident, fall, or sports injury. Chiropractors are specifically trained to evaluate the damage done to the spinal cord and can provide treatment to prevent the symptoms of whiplash from progressing.

At the Springfield Wellness Center, we can realign the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and increase blood flow so that the body’s natural healing abilities can happen quickly. We can offer natural solutions to pain management that avoid the harmful side effects of OTC pain relievers. We’ll also recommend gentle stretches and exercises to help restore full range of motion. Supplemented with massage therapy, acupuncture, even deep tissue laser to speed up healing, we use a multi-pronged approach to get our patients back on their feet living the life they’ve always dreamed about.

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More like:

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Chiropractic care doesn’t just eliminate pain, it maintains spinal health to keep the body functioning properly inside or outside of a vehicle. Proper spinal structure actually helps prevent injury and illness in the first place. Call our office or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors here. The era of self-diagnosis is over.

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