baseballYou may not have had any control over your accident, but you do have control over your care. Dr. Ullom has been providing auto accident treatment in Fort Collins for six years and has been getting amazing results.

Whiplash, also known as a CAD injury (Cervical Acceleration Deceleration), is a significant injury that happens all too frequently in automobile accidents. Whiplash creates a sequence of significant pain throughout the neck and body. The severity of the aches and pains is dependent on the nature of how the body was positioned when injuries sustained during the accident and the details are important.

The consultation and examination are of paramount importance to your case if a legal course of action happens to be taken. How was your body was positioned? Was one of your arms on the center console or out the window? How was your head positioned, was it turned talking to a passenger, looking into a mirror, or bent to one side holding your cell phone? All of these are very important questions as are specific questionnaires that are used to measure progress throughout the course of your care.

Chiropractic is a safe and has been statistically proven to be effective treating the symptoms and structural components of not only whiplash injuries, but a host of other injuries that can be sustained in an auto accident. In Fort Collins, Dr. Ullom has proven this point repeatedly with his patients by using research driven, noninvasive, gentle and conservative treatments, to get them back to their daily lives.

1. If my car only has a little damage, why am I hurting so much?

Auto accident research shows that there is no correlation between damage sustained to a vehicle and the severity or injury sustained to the individual in an automobile accident, no matter who may tell you this. Many other variables are important factors in a crash, and many horrific injuries or even death, with miniscule amounts of damage done to the automobile. On the flip side there are times when the car is completely totaled and passengers walk away with minimal to no injury at all. Think about how many NASCAR accidents there are when the driver just unbuckles their seat belts and walks away from a serious high speed accident. Although it seems completely logical for to think that an individual in a auto accident that has little damage to the vehicle cannot possibly be injured, is simply untrue. Getting your neck and spine checked as soon as possible following an accident is in your best interest, because if you have an injury the sooner you begin treatment the better chance you have for optimal healing and recovery.

2. Why are some people hurt more than others when they were in the same car, in the same accident?

Luckily, everyone is different… age, height, weight, health status, previous injuries, and the list goes on. All of these different variables affects each individuals injury risk different. Where a passenger is sitting in the vehicle, where they were looking, and what they were doing is an another set of variables. It is nearly impossible to predict who will be injured, or how much in any given accident. So we evaluate and examine each individual thoroughly.

3. Does every individual in an auto accident get hurt?

Definitely not. Although 3 million Americans report whiplash injuries from automobile collisions each year, about half of them will have long term symptomatology and 10% of them will be disabled. To have the best possible outcomes recovering from an auto injury, you should have your spine evaluated as soon as possible.

4. Are children susceptible to whiplash injuries?

Many times injuries to children are hastily overlooked when not life-threatening? Children who have an injury before their spine’s have developed, mid-twenties, can have lasting biomechanical irregularities that can affect them later in life, or even for the rest of their lives. Ninty-Seven percent of parents are under the belief that they are using child restraint systems correctly, while surprisingly 89% are not, and only 10% of children who should be in booster seats actually are. These factors all add to the risk of a child becoming injured in an automobile injury. Every child in an accident should be checked.

5. What if my symptoms didn’t begin right away?

Many times, pain and symptoms caused by accident do not show up right away. Soft tissue injuries to muscles, tendons, discs, and ligaments may have microscopic tears following a whiplash injury from the excessive stretch caused by the force of the accident. The inflammatory reaction can take time to build up much like how your body reacts to an infection. The symptoms increase over time instead of all at once. Many times the initial symptoms are covered up with pain medications, and individuals are unaware of how much pain and stiffness there is until the medications wear off.

6. Why didn’t my fast reflexes stop me from getting injured?

A whiplash event is a Cervical Acceleration Deceleration, CAD, injury that is caused by inertia. The average time it takes for your muscles to react is around 200 milliseconds, while most whiplash injuries occur between 50 and 80 milliseconds. This doesn’t leave your muscles time to react when you suddenly become aware of an impending impact, although awareness can help reduce the severity of your injury. But, like mentioned earlier there are other factors for injury that may be involved such as: Were you looking straight ahead at the time of the impact or was your head turned? Were there any pre-existing conditions like osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease? Were you wearing your seat belt and was the headrest in the proper position? I have only mentioned a few risk factors, but as you can see the list of variables in an accident is unique to the individual and ultimately determines the outcome

7. Why, even though my accident was years ago, does my neck and/or back not feel back to normal?

While a whiplash injury may seem like a simple muscle pull in your neck or back, it quite often causes permanent injuries to the spine, discs, ligaments and nerves. In some cases these injuries can lead to anxiety and depression. A recent study of whiplash injuries showed that less than 29% of injured parties were pain-free 7.5 years after their accident. The good news is that chiropractic has been proven effective in treating chronic whiplash pain. Research has shown that 93 percent of chronic whiplash patients saw improvement with chiropractic care!

8. What are some signs and symptoms of whiplash?

There are many different signs and symptoms which I can’t list them all but you may have one or multiple of the following systems: neck pain, stiffness and/or soreness; headaches; concentration problems; dizzy spells or light headedness; brain injury; vision changes; occipital neuralgia; jaw pain; difficulty swallowing or a sore throat; difficulty finding the words to say or voice loss; hypothalamus, pituitary, or thyroid disorders; ringing in the ears; arm pain and/or numbness; wrist pain or carpal tunnel symptoms; cervical sympathetic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; fibromyalgia; anxiety or nervousness.

9. How about mild traumatic brain injury signs and symptoms?

Brain function can be affected, in an accident. Some symptoms include, but are not limited to: difficulty concentrating or remembering; difficulty switching between two tasks; impaired judgment; slowed thinking; difficulty following logical thoughts; difficulty grasping new or abstract concepts; and/or perception changes; memory loss or forgetfulness; diminished sleep; irritability or depression; emotional outbursts; and even a diminished libido. Many of these symptoms can even occur without loss of consciousness during the accident. Other symptoms that may be associated with a brain injury or be independent or it are: headaches, vertigo, dizziness, light headedness, fatigue, photophobia (light sensitivity), phonophobia (sound sensitivity), tinnitus (ringing in ears).

10. I didn’t get knocked out or hit my head on anything, why do I have a mild traumatic brain injury?

In the classic whiplash movement, your head quickly goes forward and back, when this happens different body parts are accelerated and decelerated in a millisecond due to inertia. The skull suddenly stops while your soft brain keeps moving forward bouncing into the skull and then the process repeats itself when your body rebounds back into the seat. An simple example of this is putting a ripe peach into a coffee can and shaking it back and forth. The peach bruises when it strikes the side of the can… just like your brain does when it strikes the skull in an accident. This type of accident can be referred to as a coup contrecoup injury.

11. I hurt a lot but I was told that my x-rays and tests are normal. How can that be?

This happens quite commonly, that the verdict comes back that the x-rays and tests are normal. It does not mean that that you are dishonest, or faking an injury. Most of the time when x-rays are looked at they are looking for fractures or major problems, but chiropractors look at the structure and alignment. The tests that were performed may not have been specific or sensitive enough to detect a problem. There are many high tech tests that can give much more information such as flexion /extension MRI, SEMG, video fluoroscopy, SPECT imaging, computerized range of motion testing, etc. Many low tech exam tests are extremely useful as well, such as algometry (pain and pressure testing), proprioception testing (balance and position testing), etc. Pain begins at the cellular and molecular levels, and there just aren’t any tests or imaging studies (x-ray, CT, MRI, etc) that can “see” pain. The tests that we use look for anatomic and functional changes which are quite different from the normal standard testing.

12. How long does it take to heal from a whiplash injury?

A lot of factors come into play but, to put is simply, it depends on the type and degree of injury sustained. It also greatly depends on your state of health. Individuals with chronic health challenges heal slower, which is why taking care of yourself while you heal is so important:

  • How well do you eat?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • How stressful is your life and how well do you manage it?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Do you maintain a positive mental outlook?
  • Were there any previous injuries to the same area?
  • What is your age?
  • Did you seek treatment as soon as possible?

Obviously, this is a partial list of things that can affect how quickly you heal. Nonetheless, one can see that that time to recover and heal from a whiplash injury can differ greatly from one individual to the next.

Healing from a whiplash injury take time and happens in three phases. It may take up to a year to get through all three phases, and sometimes it never happens. Since the damage to the soft tissues: muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, and nerves, healing occurs by the formation of scar tissue and not by regeneration of the original damaged tissue.

Phase 1 – inflammatory phase This lasts about 72 hours, and there is progressive bleeding, swelling, and increased pain from the damage caused to the soft tissue that supports the spine.

Phase 2 – repair and regeneration This normally takes six to eight weeks, and during this phase is when the body attempts to mend the injured areas by laying down scar tissue.

Phase 3 – remodeling This crucial phase can take up to 12 months or longer, and is distinguished by the body’s endeavor to reorganize the haphazardly laid scar tissue, trying to make it as close to the original tissue as possible. Maximum maturation of the scar tissue (50-70% of the original tissue strength) cannot be achieved before 12 months. These areas are weaker than the original tissue and more prone to re-injury, stiffness, spasm, and chronic pain.

Chiropractic care throughout all 3 phases is extremely important to achieve optimal healing of the injured tissues, reducing pain and spasm, and decreasing the chance or chronic pain and dysfunction in the future.

Dr. Ullom has had extensive training in the treatment of whiplash injuries and would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your case with you and determine if we can help you. Call 970-491-9191 today to schedule your free consultation. 970-491-9191

This article is not written for the purposes of diagnosing, treating, or rehabilitating any condition, symptom, or disease. This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history. We cannot be held responsible for actions you may take without a thorough exam or appropriate referral. If you have any further concerns or questions, please let us know. Please have your condition evaluated by a healthcare professional.