In today’s world, the sports industry is becoming the center of life. Hence, it only makes sense that it comes with its flaws. One of its greatest threats is sports accidents that can be a leading cause of spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries, bruising, etc. The list also includes ligament stiffness around the neck region when muscles jerk due to sudden motion upon collision. This phenomenon is commonly called a Whiplash injury and has exceptional potential to cause damage to the cervical spine.
Often at times, victims feel disabled to do much else and face excruciating bouts of pain. In-depth scientific investigation with crash dummies and high-speed cameras has found that lower bones in the spine get pushed into a state called hyperextension. On the other hand, upper bones are in a condition of hyperflex. This unusual movement leads to an irregular S-shape of the spine, tearing the ligaments holding the vertebrae together.
Research has proven that about 3 million Americans become victims of Whiplash injuries every year, either due to sports, car crashes, or other reasons. Around 1.5 get subjected to prolonged periods of pain, and approximately 300,000 face disability. Surprisingly enough, Whiplash injuries are usually caused at speeds even below 12 miles per hour, proving how sensitive the human body can be. The National Transportation Safety Board confirms that a car accident occurs every 10 seconds that equals 2 million injuries per year. And most of these accidents are reported to be Whiplashes.
The Culprit Behind Whiplash Injury
It’s true that players mostly get whiplash injuries during the football game. But this might also happen due to basketball or other sports that required neck movements.
Chances for such incidents are known to increase (30%) depending upon the car design. For instance, the headrest located in a way that is too high or low from the head can raise your chances of receiving Whiplash.
As humans age, their muscles, ligaments, and reflexes tend to weaken, and the body loses flexibility. Hence, it is more fragile, and movement is limited, causing even the slightest of neck strains to lead to Whiplashes.
Unfortunately, women and children are more likely to suffer such accidents because they naturally are shorter and smaller in stature than men. Often at times, women and children find seatbelts to be too loose on them. And many at times, women have to sit closer to the steering; their heads dangerously close to the wheel/airbag.
Carelessness on the driver’s part
It is the foremost duty of a driver to keep in check the passengers’ and his safety in mind. However, if he chooses to multitask, for example, use his phone/text/eat, etc., it cuts down on his concentration levels and raises the chance for error.
Now the question coming to mind is whether car accidents are the sole reason for the occurrence of a Whiplash. While it is true that automobile accidents remain to be the topmost cause, neck strains can also be a result of other factors. For example, physical abuse, falling from a height, or tripping and falling onto one’s side (neck area). Whiplash, due to one of these reasons, can be equally bad as the ones described previously.
‘Prevention is Better Than Cure’
Staying on the safe side never did anybody wrong, and it’s not so hard to take a few precautions.
- Use the car’s headrest to cushion the head securely
- At theme parks where Whiplash accidents are potentially at their peak, make sure you sit belted into your seat firmly
- Do not sleep without a cushion under your head
- Sleeping in weird positions also puts neck tendons under increased stress, which causes problems in future
- When playing sports, be mindful of safety gear
Underlying Whiplash Symptoms
Commonly, victims feel Whiplash symptoms within the first 24 hours of the accident. A few signs are listed below.
- pain in the jaw
- shoulder pain
- back pain
- notable stiffness
- vision gets blurred
- ringing sounds in the ears
- numbing of the body
Professional Care and Treatment
A former belief concerning Whiplash treatment was to brace the affected neck area with a soft collar. However, practitioners realized that only hampered recovery, especially if there were no signs of irregular spinal alignment. In such a case, exercise is now the new best thing to allow some range of motion to the disturbed muscles.
Chiropractic Treatment brings us to the chiropractic approach, which requires a healthcare professional who naturally devises ways to relieve neck/back pain. In some cases, a Whiplash Chiropractor uses his hands, and in other scenarios, small tools.
A sudden pressure produced this way onto the joints enhances spinal movement and improves body productivity. Therefore, on contacting the police after an accident, visiting a professional chiropractor should be the only thing to do next. It has proven to reduce the aftermath of Whiplash, both in the long and short term.
Effective Ways Used by Chiropractors
The work of a chiropractor is not as easy as it seems to be. So what do they do? Here are a few ways to know that.
Just like hot showers soothe muscles after a strenuous workout, hot towels or hot water baths play the same role for neck sprains. Warm, wet towels help reduce swelling and relax the stiffened tendons.
Colar or Neck Brace Usage
For some, this method proves to be fruitful, but it can also make the neck more fragile over time. It is better to first consult this with the Chiropractor.
Repetitive, stable movements as directed at Chiropractic clinics are more valuable than what they seem to be. They include simple exercises like lying onto the back, moving the neck towards either side of the shoulders, and stretching the neck for about 20 seconds.
Stabilization and sensorimotor exercises can cure Whiplash, for instance, trigger point therapy for soft tissue healing. These movements cause the nervous system to function in a regular pattern and help restore it.
It is a proven treatment where the Chiropractor recommends stretching the affected area. Exercises range from mild to moderate intensity, depending on how much the patient can withstand. Pressure techniques used help reduce soreness and tenderly nurse the damaged joints.
Massage and Controlled Stretching
It is a primary method where a Whiplash Chiropractor massages the tensed muscles to bring back life into the joints.
It is of utmost importance that people realize the need to cut down on their physical activity, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. During later stages, chiropractors advise swimming or exercise (ones that exert the person less). However, it is required under professional supervision.
Medicinal drugs are always a short-term cure to give instant relief, but more potent drugs specific to Whiplash treatment are often more helpful.
When talking about Whiplash therapy, it is only fair also to consider the psychological aspect of it. At times, patients face emotional issues, like depression, increased anger/anxiety. Hence, it is integral that these be monitored and resolved at the earliest.
Patients often are not fully aware of how effective Whiplash treatments are. For this reason, they feel discouraged to receive proper treatment and exhibit hopelessness towards their condition. A better understanding and implementation of medicinal and psychological Whiplash treatment can help prevent this and lead to profound growth.