The average human will experience 3-4 car accidents in their lifetime, and the severity of damage can vary from a minor fender bender to serious roll-over accidents. The damage done to our cars is not an accurate assumption because the human body was not designed to resist the forces associated with motor vehicle accidents. There is a zone in which the cars disperses the force of an accident, called crumple zones. Crumple zones are areas where the vehicle deforms during a car accident, so the impact is not as damaging to passengers. These zones are most effective for collisions ranging between 40 and 60 mph. The car does not deform in lower speed collisions, and the passengers absorb more impact. In high-speed accidents, too much force is exerted, and the humans inside will experience the effects.
No matter the type or severity of the collision, the body will experience demands that test the structure and cause damage. The cervical spine is designed for a diverse range of motion, stabilizing the head, 10% of the body’s weight. When a vehicle is struck, the car accelerates forward, causing the body to straighten and the neck to extend. The quick extension in the neck causes a reaction where the muscles in the front of the neck contract to stabilize the head, but since the neck is extending so vigorously, this causes damage to these muscles. Once the car begins decelerating, the neck quickly flexes forward, causing damage to the structure in the back of the cervical spine. The body can then also strike objects in the car’s interior, and this phenomenon is called a whiplash injury.
Once the body muscles cannot resist and stabilize the spine, the ligamentous structures are burdened, leading to ligamentous sprains and hypermobility. After the accident, many people do not feel symptoms immediately, and it could take up to 3 days for the inflammatory signals in the soft tissue to create pain. Some symptoms include stiffness, muscle spasm, dullness, aching pain, stabbing sensation in neck or extremities, headaches, vision disturbances, dizziness, numbness in extremities, or no discomfort. The most beneficial thing you can do after a car accident is to get examined by a corrective chiropractor as quickly as possible. Due to the degenerative nature of whiplash injuries, 42% of the time, people who have experienced whiplash will also experience chronic neck pain. The worst thing that one can do is rest because the lack of mobility will cause increased spasms and more degeneration.
A corrective chiropractor will examine the damaged structures and perform a structural and functional x-ray. The structural x-ray is used to identify deformity to the spine in a neutral position, and the functional x-ray is utilized to search for ligamentous instability and damage. After the images have been analyzed, the soft tissues will be worked on to decrease spasms and facilitate healing responses. After soft tissue has been mobilized, the spine will be adjusted to increase the range of motion and place the spine in an ideal position. Stabilization exercises will be performed after the adjustment to rehabilitate damaged muscles and assist hypermobile sites.
The doctor will prescribe homecare exercises to strengthen the spine muscles and recommend using a cervical pillow. The pillow helps mold the neck back to its ideal position. Lay on your back with the pillow for 20 minutes before turning to your side. During the initial phases of healing, it is vital to consume an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Advanced Plan and increase the critical nutrients needed for recovery by taking the Max Living Joint Health Bundle supplements.