From a doctor and attorney perspective, one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with a whiplash victim is evaluating the extent and severity of a perceived injury. A whiplash or neck sprain/ strain injury can occur from what seems to be a relatively minor impact.
In addition whiplash is an injury where there are few totally objective tests with which to demonstrate the injury and its extent, so the tendency to underestimate it. Understanding some of the mechanism of injury, the type of tissues involved and current research aids in developing a solid diagnosis and prognosis in our Roseville California auto accident injury treatment clinic.
Rear end impacts create acceleration -deceleration injuries which can stretch and tear the soft tissues of the neck. This includes injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs. Neck sprains/strains are the most common injury of the whiplash type accidents.
Extension or backward arching of the neck is resisted only by the joint soft tissues of the neck. As these tissues stop extension they undergo variable degrees of internal tearing. The soft tissues eventually are able to resist further extension and cause a rebound phenomenon where the head is now thrown forward at a greater force than it was extended causing what is called a “flexion injury”.
These type of injuries have ramifications far beyond the initial injury and symptoms. Anytime we damage soft tissue (like ligaments, muscles and discs) our body goes through a process of inflammation where fluid (which we call “edema”) moves into the tissue and brings with it cells that lay down new tissue (which we call scar tissue or adhesions). This new tissue is like glue, designed to repair wounds and wall off infections. Unfortunately when this new scar tissue gets into a joint or adheres to a muscle or nerve, problems always result. Depending where the injury is and the kind of tissue affected, the new scar tissue can create new (and sometimes more severe) symptoms that can result in permanent disfunction and damage.
That is why it is so important to get examined by a thorough, accredited accident and trauma chiropractor. We have the ability to detect these damaged tissue and scar tissue so that the injuries can be minimized. If you have been in a car accident, please make an appointment with your chiropractor as soon as possible to be screened for this damaged tissue.
Dr. Michael Putman
Twin Creeks Health