What Is Whiplash? How Seat Belt Injuries Can Affect the Neck and Spine

What Is Whiplash? How Seat Belt Injuries Can Affect the Neck and Spine

When you hear the term “whiplash” what do you think? Do you think seat belt injury or car accident injury? Or do you just consider whiplash an unfortunate side effect of most auto accidents. Well, if you weren’t sure, yes, whiplash is a serious injury and if left untreated can cause serious damage and harm 

What is a Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a forceful, rapid, back-and-forth motion of the neck. Whiplash throws your musculoskeletal system out of alignment, resulting in injury to your bones, discs, soft tissues, and nerves. Whiplash is most commonly suffered during rear-end collisions where one vehicle slams into the back of another. However, any accident involving any type of impact can be dangerous and can result in injury to the body. 

Even though wearing a seat belt can be life-saving in many crashes it can also be one of the main reasons people suffer whiplash in accidents. As you know, a seat belt’s purpose is to hold you in place when a vehicle suffers a sudden movement, specifically from a crash. However, even though you are thankfully not thrown from the car, you are thrown forcefully against the seat belt. Also, because the seat belt only crosses over your chest and abdomen, it leaves your head and neck unsecured. This is why when another car slams into yours, your head and neck can snap forward and backward more abruptly because the lower half of your body is being secured to the seat, potentially causing misalignment to your neck and spine.  

Of course, we are not telling you not to wear your seat belt. They are life-saving devices that are essential in keeping you from being thrown from your seat or even out of the vehicle. What we ARE saying is that, while seat belts can save your life they can also possibly leave you with whiplash, misalignment, and tissue damage that can result in severe injury. Despite how minimal or severe you might think your accident was, you should seek the care of a chiropractor immediately for evaluation. 

What are the Symptoms of a Whiplash?

Symptoms you may experience if you have suffered whiplash or misalignment from an auto accident include but are not limited to: 

  • Neck pain and stiffness 
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement 
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck 
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull 
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms 
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms 
  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Ringing in the ears 
  • Memory problems 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Irritability  
  • Depression 
Boy fastening his seat belt

How Do Seat Belt Injuries Affect the Body?

In addition to whiplash and misalignment, seat belt injuries can also cause injury to the areas they cover. Additional seat belt injuries often include pressure injuries to the ribs, shoulder, spine and abdomen. The friction of sudden movement and the restraining force from the seat belt can cause fractures or bruises to your ribs and abdomen, as well as cuts and bruises to the upper body. In addition, soft tissue, ligaments or tendons, can be torn in the shoulder or abdomen, resulting in pain that should be addressed by a chiropractor immediately.

Seeking the Care of a Chiropractor

If you believe you have suffered a seat belt injury or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be wondering why you should seek the care of a chiropractor first? Chiropractors are the industry leaders in musculoskeletal and soft tissue injuries. They know how to realign your body in the safest way possible. Ensuring that your body is in alignment is also crucial to ensuring that all your systems are functioning properly. Also, they are trained to identify injuries commonly cause by auto accidents and know the most up-to-date and effective ways to treat them. A chiropractor will be able to do a full exam and may even identify injuries you sustained but haven’t realized you have yet. This can save you time, money and pain. You don’t need to let your auto accident injuries continue to cause you pain. These injuries can and need to be treated!  

Also, one of the most important reasons to seek the care of a chiropractor for whiplash or seat belt related injuries is because they will take a drug-free approach to your care. Here at Kaizo Health, our doctors and their team will put together a comprehensive and individualized plan of hands-on treatment and rehabilitative exercises that will help to heal your injuries in a safe and holistic way. Don’t let someone write you a prescription that will mask the symptoms for something that can and should be treated naturally. Our doctors’ goal is to always get to the root of the issue. Our combined approach of chiropractic care and rehabilitative exercises is proven to be more efficient and successful than one approach alone. So far, we have helped more than 100,000 people in the Washington, DC area live pain-free lives. 

Get Treated at Kaizo Health

Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Not only will our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free, but we also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance to make sure you get the most from your benefits so that you can experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.  

At Kaizo Health, our world-class team of chiropractors in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA, practices an evidence-based approach combining chiropractic care and guided, individualized rehabilitative exercises prescription. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health and strength as best-in-class, state-of-the-art chiropractors. We are here to help! In the meantime, make sure that you check out our blog for more information on the chiropractic field, as well as our free virtual self-assessment chiropractic web app here

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