Pain Services

Chiropractic Care in Orange County for Accidents / Whiplash


Car accidents are the main cause of whiplash injury. Even though there might be minimal car damage, passengers can suffer serious ligament and spinal injury. As much as 5 mph can have significant impact to your spinal health. Whiplash injury is the most common injury in most automobile accidents, but also the most commonly misunderstood injury. Patients typically suspect they may have whiplash because of such symptoms as soreness in the neck and headaches.

car accidentcar-crash

Whiplash defined is an injury to the ligaments and muscles of the cervical spine or neck that have been hyper-stretched caused by an external force. Most instances of whiplash occur from getting hit from behind either in a sporting injury or car accident. The force from a car accident can be really powerful and can cause the neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons to twist and turn with incredible force which is unnatural. When these tissues sustain such an incredible force they are stretched far beyond their natural limits, can become torn, and in some cases permanently damaged.

Symptoms of whiplash may include one or more of the following:

  • Headaches
  • Ringing/buzzing in the ear
  • General stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Neck soreness
  • Numbness or radiating pain in the neck
  • Sharp pains when moving

The body naturally will try to immobilize these areas to prevent further injury. One way the body does this is through muscle spasms. If function is not restored after 4-8 weeks your body will build up scar tissue to the site of injury. This will eventually lead to arthritis or joint degeneration. All of this can occur with severe or little pain. In the latest research it shows that much of the shock is like a wave that is transferred throughout the vehicle and especially to the driver and passengers.

Treatment for Whiplash

Due to the serious nature of whiplash, a complete comprehensive program to fix the misalignments and strengthen core muscles of the site of injury will help achieve a full recovery. Medications and muscle relaxants are short term solutions to the problem and don’t address the weakness of the ligaments and muscles. Also pain medication typically will mask the pain and allow for scar tissue to form leading to future injuries or chronic neck pain. How important is it to be seen? A person in a car accident is “nearly 7 times more likely to suffer neck degeneration within 7 years of the accident” (Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery).

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