Car Accidents and Whiplash trauma

Receiving care after a car accident is extremely important for reducing the likelihood of long-term, chronic problems.
Many people do not realize that they can be injured from low speed impacts or in accidents where there is little or no damage to the car.  Some injuries are not obvious immediately.  There may changes to the alignment (eg. see pictures of changes in the curve of the neck to the right) which may not be acutely painful, but can alter the function of the spinal system.  This is why we often find in our clients who did not receive care after an accident that symptoms developed months or even years later.  
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Even acute symptoms may not be felt for one to three days after the accident. The level of immediate pain is often not the best indicator of the extent of the injury.  Other signs may include sleep disturbances, memory or concentration problems, anxiety, or effects on digestion or elimination.  This is why if you or anyone you know is in a car accident we recommend scheduling an appointment for an evaluation as soon as possible. 

What renown experts in the field of whiplash say:

"In emergency rooms the common advice is to go home, apply an ice pack, take an anti-inflammatory and consult with their family doctor if symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks. Unfortunately this advice is probably responsible for at least some of the more than 30% of whiplash victims who never fully recover. Therapeutic intervention within the first couple of weeks after the accident can reduce the likelihood of long-term symptoms."

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 ~ Arthur C. Croft, DC, MS, MPH, FACO, FACFE
  Director - Spine Research Institute of San Diego

"Low speed impact with minimal or no damage to the impacted vehicle can and does cause significant musculoskeletal injury to the driver or occupant's head
and neck."

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 ~Dr. Rene Calliet M.D.
 "Whiplash Associated Diseases"

This is a list from the Spine Research Institute, of some of the symptoms and syndromes that can develop days to months after a car accident.

Neck pain and headaches 
Thyroid dysfunction
Peripheral neuropathy
Brachial plexopathy (neurological symptoms in arms)
Dizziness
Thoracic outlet syndrome 
Visual disturbances 
Post-traumatic stress disorder 
Herniation of cervical discs
Spinal cord injury 
TMJ injury/disruption  
Brain injury 
Hormonal imbalances 
Damage to the posterior cervical sympathetic nerves 
Menstrual disorders 
Tremor and movement disorders 
Fibromyalgia syndrome 
Allergy 
Breathing disorders 
Cardiovascular disorders 
Digestive disorders 
Low back pain
Normal MRI: side view of the neck showing the natural forward curved alignment of the Cervical vertebrae
MRI of a neck that was injured in a car accident and has lost its natural forward curve and there is now pressure on the spinal cord
This is a picture showing the movement of the head and neck during a rear end car accident. (the opposite happens in a head on collision with simmilar effects)
Picture showing the complex muscles in the neck that can be injured in a Whiplash injury (there are just as many in the back).