Each year in america there are between 6.5 million and 7 million MVA's affecting many individuals. Of those accidents, about three million involve some kind of bodily injury. About two thirds of these injuries, while not debilitating, are permanent. This means that if you play the odds, you'll be during the course of your lifetime in 4 or 5 car accidents. They are undoubtedly the major cause although MVA's are certainly not the sole cause of injuries, such as whiplash.
What is the significant whiplash sign we look for as far as imaging is concerned? A simple neutral lateral x-ray of the cervical spine is about as good as anything to demonstrate the extent of damage or injury.
When an individual experiences whiplash, their fascia is often damaged or injured as their head slams backwards. Sooner or later the individual begins to get neck pain, headaches, and a loss of range of motion in their neck. The problem is that a Fascial Adhesion in the SCM may be pulling on their neck. A restriction (Fascial Adhesion) in the SCM is going to pull the head forward.
Normal Cervical Curves
Although you should not have spinal curves that run from 1 side of your body to the other (Scoliosis), it's absolutely crucial to have the proper spinal curves that run from front to back. The normal front-to-back curve in your neck, should be the same as the front-to-back curve in your low back (lordosis) -- the opposite of the curve in your mid back (kyphosis). Normal curves allow for normal motion, they act as shock absorbers. Think for a moment about it. A normal curve will dissipate much of the force, spreading it out like a spring when you walk down the sidewalk.
Abnormal Cervical Curves
Abnormal curves of the cervical spine (neck) come in two forms. You have the loss of cervical lordosis. This is the "Military Neck" you see in the first x-ray. Secondly, you get a complete reversal of the lordotic curve (second x-ray). These are some of the steps on the road to Degenerative Arthritis.
For those of you understanding the nature whiplash injury and the NEW MODEL of Repair and Tissue Healing, this picture of the PLATYSMA MUSCLE should help. The Platysma is a thin muscle that covers the entire front portion of the neck. It is likewise covered in Fascia. This is just one more piece of the puzzle so far as explaining the Chronic Pain people struggle with after a whiplash injury -- by imaging which is always negative, pain that is not explained. And like SCM Muscles that are injured, it helps to explain the cervical curves. It pulls, as it restricts, and as it pulls, the head will come. Think that Forward Head Posture is no big deal? THINK AGAIN.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Automobile Accident Injuries
Whiplash, among other automobile accident injuries, are frequently reported by victims of an auto collision, regardless of the severity and grade of the accident. The sheer force of an impact can cause damage or injury to the cervical spine, as well as to the rest of the spine. Whiplash is generally the result of an abrupt, back-and-forth jolt of the head and neck in any direction. Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available to treat automobile accident injuries.
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