Who knew a fun day at the amusement park could end in a subluxation injury? Some people know this as “whiplash,” which they typically think is a result of a rear-end vehicle accident. While this may be a large portion from where subluxation comes from, it is important to identify other root causes of this neck pain.
Here are a few other ways in which whiplash may occur:
- Assault, such as being punched or shaken
- Roller coaster rides
- Sports, especially football or boxing
A whiplash injury occurs when the cervical spine (neck) is stretched beyond its normal range of motion in a forward (flexion), backward (extension) or sideways movement. The discs between the vertebrae, along with their associated muscles, tendons and ligaments can be stretched or torn.
Some symptoms include neck pain, stiffness or tenderness, headache and dizziness, numbness or tingling, muscle spasms, irritability and memory loss, blurred vision, and ringing in the ears.
These symptoms are important to identify because they might indicate the victim has Upper or Lower Cross Syndrome.
Upper Cross/Lower Cross Syndrome
Subluxation occurs when there is slight damage to the postural muscles of the spine, or misalignment of the vertebrae. The injured person will develop painful trigger points to support or accommodate the spine. Meanwhile, the postural muscles will develop scar tissue to repair the damage. The person will feel some relief as the trigger points reduce in size, however, the new scar tissue is not as flexible, so he will have a limited Range Of Motion. This limitation will produce the following symptoms:
- Decreased nerve stimulation to the brain
- Altered posture
- Loss of spinal disc fluids, which the onset of degenerative joint disease (DJD)
- Due to altered posture and DJD, the process slowly worsens, and the person usually assumes the aches and pains are a natural result of aging.
- Postural changes change the plane of motion in pelvis and shoulders
- The plane of motion changes affect the muscles in which they change their sequence of firing (involuntary/uncontrollable movement)
- This irregular muscle movement/ sequence can cause muscle loss in some cases and overuse (trigger points) in others.
When people have Upper or Lower Cross Syndrome, their problem has progressed to the point that their muscles are firing incorrectly. These people need to be treated immediately to avoid further (and possibly permanent) damage.
If a person has trigger points but no upper or lower cross syndrome, it is imperative that he receive treatment immediately before treatment becomes more difficult and expensive.
Physical Medicine Can Help
Whiplash-related symptoms and similar pain can show up immediately or up to 72 hours after the impact that caused the whiplash injury. The pain and discomfort can last for months, even years.
People often downplay the extent of their injuries initially after an accident which can cause serious problems later on as most of the injury is to the disc and facet joints.
City Health Services offers Physical Medicine treatment, which consists of physical therapy with conservative pain management, chiropractic, and massage therapy.
Our clinic creates specific treatment plans to get patients back to full recovery as quickly as possible. Do not hesitate to get an evaluation after an accident or what you might think could be a minor pain.
Contact us today.