Whiplash

~Whiplash auto injury treatment in Merritt Island, Cocoa, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Also serving Melbourne, Titusville, Viera, Palm Bay and other Brevard County locations.

The term "whiplash"was first used in 1928 to define an injury mechanism of sudden hyperextension followed by an immediate hyperflexion of the neck that results in damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons especially those that support the head. Today, we know that whiplash injuries frequently do not result from hyperextension or hyperflexion (extension and flexion beyond normal physiological limits), but rather an extremely rapid extension and flexion that causes injuries.

Due to their complicated nature and profound impact on people's lives, few topics in healthcare generate as much controversy as whiplash injuries. Unlike a broken bone where a simple x-ray can validate the presence of the fracture and standards of care can direct a healthcare professional as to the best way in which to handle the injury, whiplash injuries involve an unpredictable combination of the nervous system, muscle, joints and connective tissue disruption that is not simple to diagnose and can be even more of a challenge to treat.

Injuries resulting from whiplash trauma can manifest in a wide variety of ways, including neck pain, headaches, fatigue, upper back and shoulder pain, cognitive changes and low back pain. Due to the fact that numerous factors play into the overall whiplash trauma, such as direction of impact, speed of the vehicles involved, as well as sex, age and physical condition, it is impossible to predict the pattern of symptoms that each individual will suffer. Additionally, whiplash symptoms commonly have a delayed onset, often taking weeks or months to present. There are, however, a number of conditions that are very common among those who have suffered from whiplash trauma.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is the most common complaint and whiplash trauma, being reported by over 90% of patients. Often this pain radiates across the shoulders up into the head, and down in between the shoulder blades. Whiplash injuries tend to affect all the tissues of the neck, including the facet joints and disk between the vertebrae, as well as all the muscles, ligaments and nerves.

Disc Injury

Disc injury is also a common cause of neck pain from whiplash trauma. The outer wall of the disc called the annulus is made up of a bundle of fibers that can be torn during a whiplash trauma. These tears, then, can lead to disc degeneration or herniation, resulting in irritation or compression of the nerves running through the area. The compression or irritation, leads to radiating pain into the arms, shoulders and upper back, and may result in muscle weakness.

Damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back are the major cause of the pain experienced in the first few weeks following a whiplash injury, and is the main reason why you experience stiffness and restricted range of motion. But as the muscles have a chance to heal, they typically don't cause as much actual pain as they contribute to abnormal movement. Damage to the ligaments often results in abnormal movement and instability.

Headaches

After neck pain, headaches are the most prevalent complaint among those suffering from whiplash injury, affecting more than 80% of all people. While some headaches are actually the result of direct brain injury, most are related to the injury of the muscles, ligaments and facet joints of the cervical spine, which refer pain to the head. Because of this it is important to treat the supporting structure of your neck in order to help alleviate your headaches.

TMJ problems

A less common, but very debilitating disorder that results from whiplash is temporomandibular joint dysfunction, (TMJ). TMJ usually begins as pain, clicking and popping noises in the jaw during movement. If not properly evaluated and treated, TMJ problems can continue to worsen and lead to headaches, facial pain, ear pain and difficulty eating. Dr. Hoglund is trained to diagnose and evaluate TMJ problems and will refer to a TMJ specialist.

Brain injury

Mild brain injury can occur following a whiplash injury, due to the forces on the brain during the accident. The human brain is a very soft structure, suspended in a watery fluid called cerebral spinal fluid. When the brain is forced forward and backward in the skull, the brain bounces off the inside of the skull, leading to bruising or bleeding in the brain itself. In some cases, patients temporarily lose consciousness and have symptoms of a mild concussion. More often, there is no loss of consciousness but patients complain of mild confusion or disorientation just after the crash. The long-term consequences of a mild brain injury can include mild confusion, difficulty concentrating, sleeping disturbances, irritability, forgetfulness, loss of sex drive, depression and emotional instability. Although less common, the nerves responsible for your sense of smell, taste and even your vision may be affected as well, resulting in a muted sense of taste, changes in your sensation of smell and vision disturbances.

Dizziness

Dizziness following a whiplash injury usually results from the injury to the facet joints of the cervical spine, although in some cases injury to the brain or brainstem may be a factor as well. Typically, this dizziness is very temporary and improve significantly with treatment.

Low back pain

Although most people consider whiplash to be an injury of the neck, the low back is also commonly injured as well. In fact, low back pain is found in more than half of rear impact collisions in which injury was reported, and almost three quarters of all side-impact crashes. This is mostly due to the fact that the low back still experiences a tremendous compression during the early phases of the impact of injury from the collision, even though it does not have the degree of flexion extension injury experienced in the neck.

~Recovery from Whiplash

With proper care, many mild whiplash injuries heal within 6 to 9 months. However, more than 20% of those who suffer from whiplash injuries continue to suffer from pain, weakness or restricted movement two years after their accident. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these people will continue to suffer from some level of disability or pain for many years after that, if not for the rest of your lives.

Whiplash is a unique condition that requires the expertise of a skilled health professional specially trained to work with these type of injuries. The most effective treatment for whiplash injuries as a combination of chiropractic care, rehabilitation of the soft tissues and taking care of yourself at home.

Hoglund Chiropractic Injury Treatment Center has 30 years experience in the treatment and evaluation of individuals injured in car and truck accidents. We have various treatment modalities including spinal mobilization, decompression traction, Class IV laser therapy, Arthrostim spinal mobilization, VibraCussor soft tissue mobilization and physiotherapy modalities including electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound as well as hot pack and cryotherapy.

We often order radiology studies including x-rays and/or MRI studies to further evaluate and treat the full extent of the patient's injuries. We refer to specialist when necessary including orthopedist or neurologist.

Dr. Hoglund is experienced with the medicolegal aspects of auto accident cases. Should you have a legal representative we will work with them regarding your case.