Romo Chiropractic Blog

Posts for tag: Whiplash

By tanmeet@modesto-chiro.com
May 20, 2015
Category: Whiplash

Overview of Whiplash

Whiplash is a term used to describe an injury to the soft tissue (e.g., muscles, ligaments, tendons) in the neck. Whiplash injury, also called neck strain, neck sprain, cervical sprain, or cervical strain, can occur when a sudden force (e.g., a car accident) causes forward, backward, or sideways movement of the head that is beyond the normal range of motion, or from a sudden jolt.

The neck, or cervical spine, is comprised of seven bones (called vertebrae) and is part of the spinal column. The vertebrae are separated by gel-like cushions (intervertebral discs) and are held together by ligaments, which are attached to muscles by tendons. Whiplash injury involves damage (i.e., stretching or tearing) to these muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The term whiplash is not used to describe additional injuries such as a fractured vertebra, a herniated disc, or a head injury.

Causes and Risk Factors for Whiplash

The most common cause for whiplash is a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash injury often results from a rear-end collision, but it can occur as a result of a collision in any direction. The speed of the car and the extent of car damage do not determine the risk for neck injury. Whiplash can occur even at speeds of 15 mph.

In a collision, drivers and passengers are at increased risk if the headrest is not positioned at the correct height. To reduce the risk for whiplash, the top of the headrest should be just below the top of the head and seatbelts with shoulder straps should be worn.

Other causes for whiplash injury include the following:

  • Amusement park rides (e.g., roller coasters)
  • Assault (i.e., being punched, shoved, or shaken)
  • Falls or slips
  • Sudden straining to lift or pull a heavy object also can cause a whiplash-type injury.

The elderly and patients who have chronic conditions that affect the neck (e.g., arthritis) are at increased risk for sustaining a whiplash injury. Infants and young children often experience whiplash as a result of being shaken ("shaken baby syndrome"). People who participate in sports-related activities, especially contact sports such as football, are at increased risk for neck injuries, including whiplash.

Signs and Symtoms of Whiplash 

Signs of whiplash occur in response to soft tissue (e.g., muscle, ligament, tendon) damage. Common symptoms include neck pain, tenderness, stiffness, and headache. Symptoms can occur immediately following the injury (may indicate more severe damage), or can develop several hours to days later. Pain, which may be mild at first, may worsen 12–72 hours after the injury.

Additional symptoms that may develop with a whiplash injury include the following:

  • Abnormal sensations (e.g., numbness, tingling, prickling)
  • Back pain
  • Cognitive changes (e.g., difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability)
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain that radiates from the neck into the shoulders and arms
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Swelling in the neck area
  • Vision changes (e.g., blurred vision)
  • Weakness

Most patients recover from whiplash within 3 months. In some cases, patients develop depression or experience difficulty sleeping that may require treatment. Activities of daily living and work-related activities also be affected. Studies have shown that about 18 percent of patients experience related symptoms (e.g., chronic neck pain) as long as 2 years after a whiplash injury.

 

By Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY
March 07, 2014
Category: Uncategorized

Saturday night or Sunday morning we will all mindlessly set our clocks ahead and bemoan the hour we won't get back until October.

And on Monday and Tuesday, our risk of having a car accident will rise about 6%, research shows, as will our chances of being in a workplace accident. Productivity traditionally plummets too, in the days after a shift to daylight saving time.

So why do we all engage in this annual ritual?

Probably not for the reasons you think.

There's a national myth that we switch our clocks to give more daylight to the farmers, but it wasn't until 1966, when the farm lobby was shrunk and weakened, that their half-century of opposition to daylight saving was overruled.

Ben Franklin didn't invent it either, although he did suggest that cannons should be fired off at dawn so the lazy Parisians of the mid-18th century didn't waste precious daylight hours.

And, contrary to popular belief, switching our clocks doesn't save energy — in fact, it adds to our tab.

The reason? The switch encourages us to spend more time outdoors in the evening, driving to shopping malls, patronizing local sports teams and stopping at the convenience store to fill up our tanks and ourselves, said Michael Downing, author of the 2005 book, Spring Forward: the Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, and a creative writing professor at Tufts University outside of Boston.

Plus, we all revel in long summer evenings, made possible by that shift in time.

Not to be a killjoy, but management professor Christopher Barnes, of the University of Washington, said he only sees a downside to the time shift, which robs us of at least 40 minutes of sleep by Monday morning.

"I have not seen any benefits of this change," said Barnes, an expert in organizational behavior. "I've only seen a downside in my data and the other studies."

Barnes' research has shown that what he calls Sleepy Monday could be called Risky Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday are more dangerous than usual, too, but the elevated risk fades by the end of the week. He's documented an increase in workplace injuries and the severity of those injuries, and more "cyberloafing" — looking at online entertainment websites (and so cute kittens), instead of working. Other research shows that heart attack rates and car accidents are significantly higher on Sleepy Monday.

"Just from a small amount of lost sleep we see a noticeable effect," he said.

Psychologist Stanley Coren, of the University of British Columbia, in Canada, agrees that losing sleep is bad news. But Coren, who did some of the original research on traffic accidents and daylight saving, also sees an upside to the time shift.

Because it'll be brighter for the commute home for the next few weeks, there will be fewer car accidents from twilight driving, he said.

And there's one simple way to make Sleepy Monday safer and therefore reap all the benefits and none of the costs.

"Go to bed an hour earlier," Coren said. "It's not rocket science." and don't forget you change you clock.

By Romo Chiropractic
July 17, 2013
Category: Neck Pain
Tags: Chiropractic   Chiropractor   Neck Pain   Whiplash   Headaches   Pain   stiffness  

What is neck pain?

Neck pain can be so mild that it is merely annoying and distracting. Or, it can be so severe that it is unbearable and incapacitating.

Fortunately, most minor, posture-induced neck pain episodes clear up on their own after rest and efforts not to repeat the offending stresses on the neck.Most instances of neck pain and stiffness are minor, and commonly caused by something you did. That is, if you keep your head in an awkward position for too long, the joints in your neck can "lock" and the neck muscles can become painfully fatigued. The price you pay for carelessness in how you position your head and neck (for instance, while working, watching TV, using a computer, reading a book, or talking on the phone with the receiver held against your shoulder and under your chin), is a pain in the neck. You may be one of the many unfortunates who, after a long and tiring day, has "harmlessly" fallen asleep in a chair or in bed with your head propped up, only to awake with a stiff and painful neck.

But neck pain that just won't go away after a day or so is a more serious matter. Neck pain that lasts for many days or keeps coming back is a signal that something isn't right.

Disease, an injury (such as whiplash in an auto accident), a congenital malformation, or progressive degeneration that can come with age may be responsible for the more significant pain you experience. An expert must determine the underlying causes of such neck pain. Examination, diagnosis and treatment by a doctor of chiropractic can relieve your mind and may quickly relieve your pain.

Who suffers from neck pain?

Almost everyone experiences some sort of neck pain or stiffness at one time or another. Because you are human and walk upright, your head is "balanced" atop your spinal column. If the muscles that support your head are not kept strong and in good condition, then the upper part of your spinal column is vulnerable to strains and injuries.

Older people, whose joints have been worn by much use over time, are subject to osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, or DJD. When this form of arthritis hits your back and neck, you feel it as neck pain that gets worse over time. The pain may radiate into your shoulders and arms, and you may feel numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers. Arthritis can also involve symptoms including headaches, dizziness, and even a grating/grinding feeling when you move your head. It is very important for your chiropractor to examine you to rule out osteoarthritis or identify it and see that it is properly treated.

What can chiropractic do?

Doctors of chiropractic have the training and skills to relieve your neck pain, overcome stiffness, and restore the mobility and range of motion of any frozen neck vertebrae. They are devoted to helping you get back to your normal pursuits and start feeling like yourself again.

Perhaps their most important contribution is their ability to bring their specialized diagnostic skills, techniques, and equipment to bear in assessing what is causing your neck problems. Your chiropractor can determine if you have a relatively minor and treatable condition or a more serious underlying condition (from disease, degeneration, or trauma) that may require more intensive, extended treatment or referral to a specialist.

Your chiropractor will ask you for detailed information on your behavior, posture, physical condition, and work and home environment. He or she will obtain x-rays and other diagnostic images to pinpoint which of many possible causes is a responsible for your discomfort. Only then will the appropriate treatment be recommended.

Once your normal feeling and function is restored, your chiropractor will be available to keep the muscles and joints of your neck and back in optimum condition in order to prevent recurrent neck pain and related life-restricting symptoms.

References

  • Cassidy JD, Lopes AA, Yong-Hing K. The immediate effect of manipulation on pain and range of motion in the cervical spine: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1992; vol. 25, pp570-75.
  • Coulter ID, Hurwitz EL, Adams AH, et al. The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, supported by the Consortium for Chiropractic Research, 1996.
  • Hurwitz EL, Aker PD, Adams AH, et al. Manipulation and mobilization of the cervical spine: A systematic review of the literature. Spine, 1996; vol. 21, no. 15, pp1746-60.
  • Jackson R. The Cervical Syndrome, 4th ed. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, IL: 1978.
  • Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, et al. A randomized clinical trial of manual therapy and physiotherapy for persistent back and neck complaints: Subgroup analysis and relationship between outcome measures. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1993; vol. 16, pp211-19.
  • Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, Essers AHM. The effectiveness of manual therapy, physiotherapy, and treatment by the general practitioner for nonspecific back and neck complaints: A randomized clinical trial. Spine, 1992;17, pp28-35.
  • Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, et al. Randomized clinical trial of manual therapy and physiotherapy for persistent back and neck complaints: Results of one year follow up. British Medical Journal, 1992;304, pp601-5.
  • Zvulun I. Mobilizing the nervous system in cervical cord compression. Manual Therapy, Feb, 1998; vol. 3, no. 1, pp42-7.
By Romo Chiropractic | Modesto Chiropractor
June 29, 2012
Category: Uncategorized

Cervical facet syndrome (CFS) is a form of osteoarthritis characterized by a structural deterioration of the vertebrae and joints of the neck. These vertebrae are connected to the spine and supported by a fluid-encapsulated, cartilage-coated hinge mechanism called a facet joint; this joint both stabilizes the spine and allows free movement of the neck and head. Like other joints, it experiences constant, repetitive motion, and can become worn or torn.

As the result of aging (and sometimes the result of trauma or injury such as whiplash), the cartilage that surrounds the facet joint can become worn, causing bone-to-bone contact. The facet joint then becomes inflamed, and may cause pain, stiffness, or soreness, both at the location of the joint and in other areas of the body. This area of the cervical spine is home to a number of pain generators, including the facet joint itself, the intervertebral discs, and the ligaments and muscles that support them. CFS can thus result in a range of symptoms including pain or tenderness near the joint itself, limited mobility of the neck and head, a chronically sore or stiff neck, and other symptoms that radiate to the shoulders, arms, upper back and upper legs. Some patients report pain that seems to originate in the back of the head, but which then radiates over the top of the head, sometimes extending into the region of the eyes and ears.

The pain of cervical facet syndrome is most commonly described as a dull, deep ache, which is often experienced as being worse in the mornings, because the inflammation and stiffness increases while they are asleep. As they begin to move around the pain may subside, but if their work or lifestyle requires them to sit at a desk all day, that may cause the pain to recur. Many patients report that the pain increases when they turn their heads, such as when they are trying to look behind them. The inflammation caused by CFS can also manifest as muscle spasms.

The majority of medical practitioners recommend initially treating cervical facet syndrome as conservatively and non-invasively as possible. Heat or ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help. Chiropractic manipulation may be able to relieve many of the structural causes of CFS, and is often combined with deep tissue massage, electro-stimulation, and stretching exercises to relax affected muscles in the area, stimulating healing blood flow to the region, and increasing mobility. Recommendations for diet or lifestyle changes (including posture correction) can also help to promote faster healing and prevent recurrence of the syndrome and its distress. 

 

By tanmeet
April 17, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: CA   Neck Pain   Back Pain   Whiplash   modesto   auto accident   car accident  

 

How to Treat Whiplash with Chiropractic Care

The answer to this question is not a simple one as many people tend to associate any type of neck pain with having whiplash.  The first thing is to find out is whether or not you have whiplash.

Is it Whiplash or a Pain in the Neck?

 

Whiplash is defined as an injury to the neck, by moving the head forward and then backward in a rapid fashion that places strain on the neck muscles and ligaments.  Whiplash is most common when the victim has been rear-ended, or hit from behind by another vehicle but can result from physical abuse (such as shaken baby syndrome) or contact sports. The symptoms of whiplash vary and are not limited to.

  • Restricted joint movement in spine or limbs

  • Displacement of spinal discs, also known as a herniation, which causes sharp pain down one or both arms; It also can create small tears in spinal tissue and damage the nervous system, which is followed by numbness, tingling and muscle weakness

  • Chronic pain in the neck area

  • Cognitive dysfunction that may include difficulty concentrating

When to See a Physician

If you have unrelated neck pain that persists for a period of time or you experience the following:

  • A shooting pain through one or both arms

  • Tingling or numb feeling in one or both arms or hands

  • Inability to touch chin to your chest

You may want to see a chiropractor or other medical professional as they can diagnose an underlying problem.  If you are not having any of the symptoms or find it goes away after changing positions, it may just be the result of poor posture.

The Severity of Whiplash

For some, neck pain resulting from an accident can be treated with ice and a light brace.  Other times, it may disappear on its own or a person may find themselves feeling:

  • Pain in their jaw

  • Significant damage to ligaments, discs, nerves or joints

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Nausea

  • Irritability or unable to concentrate

If any of these symptoms persist, they should see a chiropractor so that x-ray as well as other tests may be performed to determine if there is an underlying problem.

Seeing the Chiropractor

The primary objective of the chiropractor is to use gentle manipulations that treat the spine and discs so that they are aligned properly.  These manipulations are also designed to reduce muscle spasms and rebuild muscle strength with the aid of physical therapy.

The chiropractor will first focus on reducing inflammation and check the neck, mid and low back. From there, the range of motion, disc injuries and muscle spasms will be examined. Other factors that will be noted are walking, posture and spinal alignment.  A comprehensive exam provides an understanding of the individuals’ body mechanics. X-rays and /or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be taken along with the patient medical history to determine whether they can be treated.

Some cases of whiplash may only require ice and heat therapy to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles, respectively.  Non-medicinal treatment may include acupuncture, massage or Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

If you or someone you know may have experienced any or all of symptom described, then you may want to share this information with them or give our office a call to make an appointment. 

References