Accidents cause spinal misalignments in the body, a serious
condition that distorts your structure, irritates nerves, bones,
ligaments and discs and can damage your overall health. Any
accident, no matter how mild, can create nerve-damaging
It is for that reason that if you have ever been in an accident
or fall, no matter how minor, you need a chiropractic spinal
checkup to ensure that your spine is free from these
health-destroying abnormalities. Only a chiropractor is trained
to analyze your spine for the vertebral subluxation complex
(misaligned or abnormally functioning bones in your spine).
Is chiropractic care helpful in serious accidents? Absolutely!
But in such situations it is necessary to first attend to any
life-threatening emergency such as bleeding or hemorrhage,
breath, loss of fluid electrolytes, internal organ
damage, broken bones, serious contusions or abrasions, shock and
the like. This is the specialty of the medical profession:
dealing with trauma.
Long-term damage to the spine and head is especially common in
auto accidents. Doctors of chiropractic have for years
recognized that most victims of automobile injuries do not fully
recover under medical care - they may continue to have problems
for years after the accident because their spinal structure is
often ignored. New medical terms acknowledging the incomplete
healing of accident victims have recently arisen: Postconcussion
Syndrome (PCS), Whiplash Syndrome (WS), Mild Traumatic Brain
Injuries (MTBI), and Mild Head Injury (MHI).2
All people who have been in an accident or trauma should see a
chiropractor to have their spinal columns checked for nerve
pressure caused by vertebral subluxations or spinal stress. A
chiropractic adjustment can make the difference between life and
death, between a life with pain, disability and sickness and a
life of true recovery, activity and accomplishment.
1. Hadley, L.A. Intervertebral joint subluxation, bony
impingement and foramen encroachment with nerve root change.
American Journal of Roentgenology and Radiological Therapeutics,
1951, 65, pp. 337-402.
2. Bohnen, N., Vanzutphen, W., Twijinstra, A. et al. Late
outcome of mild head injury: Results from a controlled postal
survey, Brain Injury, 1994, 8(8), pp. 701-708.
Nearly one third of all motor vehicle accidents are rear end
collisions, and it is this type of accident that is responsible
for most whiplash injuries.
Biomechanics, the study of how mechanical forces affect living
organisms, is useful in explaining how even a "minor" rear end
collision can result in a serious injury. The biomechanics of a
common rear end collision can be understood as a sequence of
events, one following the other. Newton's First Law of Motion
states that, "An object remains at rest or in a state of motion
in a straight line unless it is acted upon by an outside force."
To put this into practical
terms, if you are sitting in your car
at a stop light ("at rest") and are then struck by another
vehicle from behind, ("acted upon by an outside force"), you
will immediately not be ("at rest") anymore.
In this common scenario of whiplash-type injuries, your car is
propelled forward, and as you sit in your seat with your torso
supported by the car seat, it too goes forward. What doesn't go
forward in that split second is your head. It generally stays
where it is, but relative to your torso, it travels backward as
your car travels forward.
Have you ever had someone come from behind you and push you
between your shoulder blades, and felt your head go backwards?
Whiplash biomechanics are just like that, only much more severe.
Hyperextension, or the abrupt movement of the head backwards,
usually causes the most damage in a whiplash injury, since there
are no anatomical restrictions to the range of motion. As a
result of this sudden forceful movement of the head backward,
numerous types of injuries can occur.
Tearing of the front muscles and ligaments of the neck is
common. (Muscles move bones, and ligaments hold bones together.)
Disc herniations are also possible, and fractures are also of
When the vehicle finally stops as a result of braking or hitting
another object, your body is propelled forward, sometimes
hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or airbag. If you are
wearing a shoulder restraint, your head will fly forward, with a
twisting motion, resulting in hyperflexion of the neck.
If you would like any more information on whiplash and the
symptoms it can cause, please feel free to contact us.