Car Accident Treatment in Orange County, California
Chances are if you drive more than a few miles each day, you will see a car accident practically every day. In densely populated areas like Orange County, California, they are even more likely. Our complex freeway system with it’s congestion and stop and go traffic facilitates car crashes.
Injuries after a car wreck are common.
The term “whiplash” is applied to neck injuries due to a car collision after an old notion of the neck being whipped back and forth including hyper-extension and flexion of the spine. Current research, using super high speed cineradiography and live human crash testing, shows us that in reality a whiplash injury does not involve hyper-extension. What occurs is as your vehicle is struck and begins to move, your torso which is resting in your seat, moves with the car. The head, which is not anchored to the car, does not move forward. Therefore, your torso is moving forward while your head remains stationary causing your neck to become deformed into an “S” shaped configuration momentarily. This momentary deformation causes damage to the joints, ligaments, discs, muscles and nerves depending on how much force was suffered and how quickly the body was jolted forwarded.
Treatment of car accident related injuries is aimed at addressing the specific tissues that have been damaged. Very minor automobile accidents involve mostly muscle injuries that are healed in a matter of a few weeks, while moderate injuries involve damaged ligaments and some degree of nerve injury and severe whiplash injuries involve serious ligament, disc and or nerve damage. Obviously, with increased injury comes increased duration of treatment and more possibility of there being permanent damage.
Stages of whiplash treatment:
Initial inflammatory stage. The treatment is aimed at relieving inflammation and muscle spasm. It consists of passive therapy modalities such as ice, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cold laser and gentle spinal movements. Duration of treatment can be from 4 to 8 weeks with frequent visits each week.
Rehabilitation stage. Treatment here is designed to promote healing of the damaged soft tissues and return the spine to its normal movement and alignment. Care in this stage consists of traction, exercises, electrical stimulation, manipulation and massage. Treatment duration is anywhere from 2 months to a year with visits at 1-2 times per week.
What does current medical research tell us about treatment of car accident whiplash injuries?
“The neck is injured in rear impact collisions at speeds as low as 2.5 mph”
Koji Kaneoka, Koshiro Ono, Satoshi Inami and Koichiro Hayashi (99-04-15). “Motion analysis of cervical vertebrae during whiplash loading.” Spine 24(8): 763-770
“The neck assumes an “S” shape configuration milliseconds after impact and is responsible for injury”
Panjabi MM, Cholewicki J, Nibu K, Grauer JN, Babat LB, Dvorak J, Bar HF (1998-12-01): “[Biomechanics of whiplash injury].” Orthopade 1998 Dec; 27(12): 813-9.
“Most car accident related injuries occur at relatively low speeds with the highest proportion of injuries sustained at 12 mph.”
Chapline JF, Ferguson SA, Lillis RP, Lund AK, Williams AF. Neck pain and head restraint position relative to the driver’s head in rear-end collisions. Accident Analysis and Prevention 32:287-297, 2000.
“40% of all whiplash injuries result in permanent damage, pain and impairment”
Lord SM, Barnsley L, Wallis BJ, Bogduk N. Chronic zygapophyseal joint pain after whiplash: a placebo controlled prevalene study. Spine 1996; 12:1737-45
“Chiropractic manipulation is the most effective form of treatment of whiplash injuries”
Giles LGF, et al. Chronic Spine Pain, Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Medications, Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation. Spine 28(14): 1490-1502, 2003
Woodward, Cook, Gargan and Bannister (1996) “Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’.” Injury 27(9): pp. 643-645
Treatment guidelines have been devised to enable a doctor to classify the severity of an injury and predict treatment duration and prognosis
Croft A, Whiplash Injuries: the Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, second edition, in 1995
Dr Barry Marks Chiropractor
1745 W Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868