Did you know that you can sustain a neck injury (whiplash) by being stuck in the rear by another vehicle traveling only 5 mph? That is correct, at only 5 mph the impact is enough to cause injury to the supportive ligaments of your neck. This injury is referred to as a sprain (aka – whiplash). Although the injury may appear to be minor at first, it can lead to a more severe condition known as degenerative joint disease in years to come.
The main function of the ligaments in your neck is to maintain the stability of your joints and alignment in your neck. When these ligaments are damaged, you lose support and therefore lose stability. When this occurs following an injury, the symptoms may be minimal and disappear within a few days, only to return at a later date which can be months or years later. When symptoms in the neck appear years later without any significant reason, I often hear the excuse from the patient “I think that I may have slept wrong”. When I ask the patient if they have had a past automobile accident, they often say no or just something minor where they did not experience any pain or injury. When I inform them that they are incorrect, they often have a surprised look of disbelief. If you really think about it, how do you sleep wrong? Most of us are creatures of habit and use the same pillow, same mattress, go to bed at the same time, sleep in the same position each night, etc. How could it be that one night it is all of the sudden wrong?
After careful physical examination including X-rays of the neck, it is often noted that there is loss of cervical curve and poor alignment of the spinal vertebrae. This often leads to pressure on spinal nerves that can not only cause neck pain, but other symptoms as well such as headaches and even sinus trouble. Other findings might even include degeneration of the spinal discs depending on the age of the patient and how long they has the problem. I can tell you from experience that there is a cause to all of this and it certainly is not from sleeping wrong. The degeneration often indicates that this problem has been present for quite sometime. It is just that the symptoms of the problem appeared only recently. Or the symptoms may have been there but at a less severe level in the past and probably disappeared within a few days.
The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Chiropractic treatment can help! With a series of corrective adjustments and specific neck exercises the symptoms can be alleviated and often the problem can be resolved. If you currently suffer from neck pain and/or headaches and had a past accident that you thought was insignificant, you owe it to yourself to visit with a Chiropractor and find out if they can help. Also, if you have been in a recent automobile accident, you should have a Chiropractor give you an examination to see if any damage has occurred. Even if you do not have any major symptoms. Florida PIP law states that you have 14 days to visit a physician to be entitled to your PIP benefits. If you wait beyond that time period, you will be denied benefits. Don’t wait, contact your Chiropractor today!