How to Treat Whiplash
Hi, my name is Dr. Troy Giles. I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Natural Internist and I wanted to talk to you today a little bit about whiplash. It’s actually called acceleration deceleration syndrome, where because you’ve been hit by a car behind, usually it’s happening in a car, but it can happen anywhere. It can happen at a theme park on a roller coaster. It can happen skiing, or anytime where your head is whipped, like that. So if you’re sitting in here, let’s say from this side, I’m sitting in my car at a stop light and a car hits me from behind. My head is going to come back, first off here, because the seat is being forward, being thrust forward by the car that just hit. So my head goes back over the top of the seat, and usually you’re raised up above the seat with your shoulders and then it whips you forward. Now realizing that your head weighs 30 pounds, on the top of your neck, which is thinner. So if you’re thin here and your head goes forward or backwards, usually it’s back and then forwards, and especially if you hit a car in front of you. After being hit, your head goes back and now you hit the car in front of you, your head goes forward. That’s a double whiplash. So it’s very important to get this taken care of, not just to see if you have any broken bones. If you go get an x-ray at the emergency room, they’re looking to see that you have in-tact vertebrae, that there’s no cracks and that’s all their concerned about. Oh you just have a soft tissue injury, well that’s massive. If you don’t get it taken care of, the vertebrae will fuse up, or not fuse up, but they will scar tissue around that abnormal positioned vertebrae. So let’s just take a second here and look at this x-ray that I took. This accident happened a week ago about nine, actually nine days ago and her major injury, and what I did first, so you can see it better, is I marked the back part of the vertebrae. So you can this is, here’s C1, the first cervical vertebrae. Here’s number two. Here’s three and four. So you can see the displacement of how when her head’s in forward flexion, this vertebrae, there should be a line. It should be a nice curve and not a stair step. It looks like your stair stepping up. So this is a stair step deformity because of the whiplash. So on the same picture now, her head is backwards, the same thing. You can see how it kind of comes up, makes a turn, so these are disjointed. So the curve that we normally see there is mal-positioned. When it’s out of position like that, it usually means that the ligaments, the ligaments that are behind, that are on the back part of the vertebrae, specifically here. You can see this one, the space between this versus the space here. This is a large space. That means that the ligaments that go between the spine is processed. These little bones right here, those ligaments have been torn and stretched a lot. So as she goes to stand up, more than likely, her head is forward. This picture, this x-ray, you can see how this patient’s vertebrae are way forward. This spot right here actually should be back about 3.5 cm. So C2 should be over the top of C7. So she’s carrying her head way forward. Now look here. You can see that there’s the bone spur right here. There’s a bone spur off the front, but this right there is a bone spur and that’s deposition of calcium trying to deposit around the ligaments that have been torn. So if you look here, this ligament has been torn a lot. So if you don’t take care of this, then she is going to start to get more bone spurring off the front. Now realize this picture, this particular x-ray is in flexion, so her head was like this when we took the x-ray, because we wanted to see how much motion, how much translation of the vertebrae forward there was. There shouldn’t be this translation. It should just be bending forward, the next vertebrae a little bit more, the next vertebrae a little bit more. That’s the idea there. So to take care of an accident after you have been injured is very, very important. So many times patient’s come in, their cervical curve is reversed. Instead of being back, it’s forward, like this picture here. It happens in the back as well. So the patient here in the x-rays, she turned in front, making a left-hand turn, didn’t see an oncoming car, because there was a car turning right. The car turned right, she thought she had a clear path, turned right in front of this car, oncoming, so it was almost a head-on, but she had turned this way, so it hit her right front. But that threw her body into the car and flipped her head forward so that was the whiplash. That’s why there’s mainly trauma in flexion, when her head is forward. If you don’t get this taken care of, either physical therapy, or chiropractic, but I would suggest for sure chiropractic, and then physical therapy, or both is actually best. I do both here in my clinic, but I suggest that you get in to see your chiropractor, because positioning of the vertebrae is only done through chiropractic care. You can do it manually, adjusting and popping like most chiropractors do, and I do as well, or you can do it with a pro adjuster and this is from Sigma Instruments. This is a neat technique where the actual vertebrae are adjusted through tapping. This is actually like a mini jack hammer. So this can tap away at the vertebrae, getting them to move and getting them into the appropriate position while you’re repairing, while you’re doing physical therapy, ultrasound, muscle stem massage exercises. But to do just exercises and the other without the chiropractic part you’re now repairing tissue around a mal-positioned vertebrae. I was saying to one of my buddies the other day, “What doctor do we know that takes care of positioning of vertebrae?” The only one I know is chiropractic. D.O.’s, Doctors of Osteopathy, as well adjust vertebrae. The new physical therapists are coming out, Doctor’s of Physical Therapy know how to adjust vertebrae, but getting them to position them correct is so, so vital. So after an accident of any type, even if it’s a fall while skiing, you know, you’ve hit your head, whipping it, that can cause that same thing as well. So, if you have any questions I can refer you to a doctor in your area, possibly. If I know anybody there, or just talk to a neighbor or somebody that can give you an appropriate referral, someone that they trust. You can call my number here on the screen. This will tell you or you can get right into the office and we can explain maybe where you could go. So I hope that’s been beneficial, but really, really take care of your neck when you fall, falling down the stairs, whatever. Think about your kids as they are learning to walk and all the times they fall back and hit their head. If you’re in an accident of any type, it doesn’t have to be a car accident, get yourself looked at by a chiropractor. All right, have a great day.