We have all had this happen, or know someone this has happened to. Suddenly, someone crashes into the back end of your car and you feel your head extend back over the headrest and then rebound forwards, almost hitting the steering wheel with your forehead. When the police arrive and start asking questions about what had happened, you try to piece together what happened but you’re not quite sure of the sequence of events. Your memory just isn’t that clear. Within the first few days, in addition to significant neck and headache pain, you notice your memory seems fuzzy, and you easily lose your train of thought.
Although whiplash injuries are quite common, research is only beginning to describe the diverse symptoms that can develop when the neck has been traumatized. Because whiplash symptoms are often subtle and non-specific, it’s quite normal for patients not to complain about them. In fact, we almost always have to describe the symptoms and ask if any of these symptoms sound familiar to the patient.
As pointed out above, patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) don’t mention any of the previously described symptoms and in fact, may be embarrassed to discuss these symptoms with their Las Vegas chiropractor when they first present after a car crash. This is because the symptoms are vague and hard to describe and, many feel the symptoms are caused by simply being tired or perhaps upset about the accident. When directly asked if any of these symptoms exist, the patient is often surprised there is an actual reason for feeling this way.
The cause of MTBI is due to the brain actually bouncing or rebounding off the inner walls of the bony skull during the whiplash process, when the head is forced back and forth after the impact. During that process, the brain which is suspended inside our skull, is forced forwards and literally ricochets off the skull and damages some of the nerve cells most commonly associated with either the brain stem (the part connected to the spinal cord), the frontal lobe (the part behind the forehead) and/or the temporal lobe (the part of the brain located on the side of the head). Depending on the direction and degree of force generated by the collision (front end, side impact or rear end collision), the area of the brain that may be damaged varies because it could be the area closest to initial impact or, the area on the opposite side, due to the rebound effect. Depending on which part of the brain is injured, the physical findings may include problems with walking, balance, coordination, strength, as well as difficulties with communicating, processing information, memory, and altered psychological functions.
The good news is that most of these whiplash injuries will recover within 3-12 months but unfortunately, not all do and in these cases, the term, post-concussive syndrome is sometimes used.
We realize you have a choice in medical providers for spine injuries. If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our expertise and look forward in serving you and your family presently and,anytime in the future.