Studies show that about 83% of people involved in car accidents suffer whiplash injuries, which commonly involve neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain and headaches. Other symptoms of whiplash injury include numbness and tingling into the arms, muscle weakness, visual disturbances, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, decreased concentration, and memory loss.
The severity and duration of whiplash symptoms is affected by several factors. Typically rear-end collisions cause greater bodily injury than other types of crashes. Vehicle damage is not a reliable predictor of injury. Vehicle damage usually occurs with impacts greater than 15 mph, however studies show that bodily injury commonly occurs in impacts of 5 mph or less. One common misconception is that people who brace for impact tend to have greater injuries, but the opposite is actually true. Studies show that occupants who are unaware of impact experience more severe injuries and slower recovery times than those who brace for impact.
Typically pain and other whiplash symptoms can come on hours to days after the motor vehicle accident. Usually pain is dull and aching, but it can become sharp with movement. Headaches are extremely common with whiplash because injury to the muscles and joints of the neck often refers pain to the head. Muscle spasm often occurs with these types of injuries as the body attempts to stabilize the injured tissues. As a result, neck stiffness and tightness is very common after being involved in a car accident.
Research shows that over 50% of people injured in car accidents report ongoing neck pain a year after the accident, and long-standing complaints develop in up to 60% of cases. Fortunately, early treatment of whiplash injuries leads to better outcomes and shorter duration of symptoms. Research shows that chiropractic care is an extremely effective form of treatment for whiplash. Our doctors offer joint mobilization, myofascial release, rehabilitative exercise, and postural re-education to help to decrease pain and improve range of motion. Both Dr. Murphy and Dr. Tortorici have extensive experience in treating patients involved in motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve recently been in a car accident, please contact our office to learn more about how we can help.