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What Is It?
Whiplash of the spine occurs during forceful acceleration and deceleration of the body. Most times it is associated with car collisions but can also occur during a fall, playing sport or from simply being pushed from behind.
The degree of damage and discomfort after a whiplash experience depends upon the health and fitness of the person prior to the insult. A muscular, fit, sports person will be able to take a far greater impact than an osteoarthritis sufferer.
For those with pre-existing osteoarthritis, also known as spondylosis, even apparently minor jars can lead to significant back pain and spasm. It is not uncommon for the incident to trigger off a period of permanent discomfort that may never fully resolve.
Post Whiplash Syndrome
Post whiplash pain syndromes are thought to be the result of altered neurological feedback from damaged ligaments, tendons and muscles. The sense of position of our body parts relative to each other is known as proprioception, and it is this that is affected by heavy knocks.
Imagine knocking your radio tuning dial and getting a poorer quality reception, with static, and waxing and waning volume. If you were waiting for important news that you had to evacuate your house, the reception you hear may be so poor that you miss it all together.
In our bodies this may present as altered sensations, neck pain, head pain, low back pain, poor balance, concentration and sleep. Even if the initial discomfort eases the poor postural awareness will lead to future stress and strains, probably resulting in more chronic pain conditions.
The Chiropractic Approach.
The chiropractic approach to whiplash will deliver specific adjustments to areas that show signs of vertebral subluxations. The aim is to restore and stimulate proprioceptive functions of joints and muscles, thereby allowing the body to repair itself.
Recovery of mobility and pain relief should occur over a course of adjustments. In most cases at least 10-12 sessions will be required to get the process started, with follow up care if required in the future.
Other symptoms commonly associated with neck and shoulder pain, headache, stomach upsets, such as reflux and heartburn, tennis elbow, wrist and hand symptoms may also respond.
It is important to stress that the aim of care is to remedy the mobility of the spinal segments, correct the supportive functions and then allow the neural pathways to restore muscle strength, balance and coordination.