Head whiplash is any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk and it puts a strain on the neck as it happens. The pain that comes from the head whiplash is usually hard to ignore…and it can cause many problems down the line if it is not cared for.
Understanding Head Whiplash
Head whiplash is mostly associated with car accidents, but it can be from any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk. When the head jerks, it is this sudden forward or backward motion that causes the neck strain as it stretches and tears the muscles and tendons within the neck.
Head Whiplash Symptoms
If you are experiencing head whiplash, you could have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Headaches that occur at the base of the skull and radiate to the forehead
- Pain as you rock head side to side or forward and backward
- Decreased range of motion
- Tightness in the neck (your muscles could feel knotted or hard in this area)
Head whiplash could cause a concussion as well, and if you have the following symptoms, you should seek care right away:
- Trouble talking (or have a weakness in talking)
- Headache that persists or worsens
- Very fatigued
Head Whiplash Causes
There are many causes of head whiplash. It could be from physical abuse, amusement park rides, or a numerous list of accidents. Head whiplash is when the soft tissues of your neck are extended past their limit. This extension tears the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) and leaves you with symptoms that could be either instant or take a while to surface. Because the symptoms may not begin right away, it is always important to become aware of any changes you might be experiencing after an accident.
Head whiplash does not take a lot of force. Even in a vehicle moving at a speed as low as 5 to 10 miles per hour can cause a head whiplash injury. While there is an extensive list of causes to head whiplash and the causes in head whiplash in adults are mostly the same as causes in head whiplash in children, we can at least break down some common ones seen in adults and children.
Head Whiplash Causes in Adults
Please note, the older a person is or someone who is already experiencing neck problems such as arthritis could have a more serious head whiplash than those who are younger. As we age, our movement becomes limited and our muscles will lose their flexibility and strength. Because of this, there is a higher possibility of damage when an adult has their neck move abruptly back and forth.
- Automobile or Bicycling accidents
- Contact sports
Head Whiplash Causes in Children
While children can heal faster than adults, their bodies are still fragile at a young age. Keep this in mind if it looks like a sudden fall or small, jerking movement does not cause much harm, but the child responds by holding their neck or head or is showing signs of one or more of the above head whiplash symptoms.
- Sudden falls
- Shaken aggressively
- Tackling from sports or play
What to do About Head Whiplash
For starters, you need to make sure you rest easy and do not add to the stress your body is experiencing. To help the body heal from head whiplash, it will take rest and a recommended visit to an upper cervical chiropractor. Unlike general chiropractic, the upper cervical focuses on the top two bones of your spine. These bones can suffer greatly from a neck or head impact and when they are knocked out of alignment, they do more than just cause pain – they can interfere with your body’s nervous system by squeezing the brain stem.
When one of your upper cervical vertebrae are shifted out of alignment, they begin to press against your brain stem, causing the messages it is supposed to send throughout the body for proper repairing and healing to become disrupted. This disruption of messages takes away the body’s ability to fix itself and can cause the body to experience other issues down the line.
Chiropractic Head Whiplash Diagnostic
To find out if you are suffering from head whiplash, an upper cervical chiropractor can perform an exam and see if their services can help your case. A scan can find out if your upper cervical bones (the ones that have jerked back and forth within the neck as you experience head whiplash) are shifted out of place and causing more harm to your body. These scans can also help the upper cervical chiropractor see the affected discs, muscles, and ligaments.
Chiropractic Treatment for Head Whiplash
A chiropractic upper cervical treatment could be what you need for head whiplash. After experiencing a jerk or blow to the head or neck, it can knock one of the top two bones of your spine out of alignment easily. Our upper cervical spine, the neck area, is the most delicate part of our spine. If something happens to that area of our spine, it has the power to cause many problems throughout our body – as that is where our brain stem resides.
Our brain stem allows our brain to properly communicate with our body by sending and receiving signals. These signals allow our body to respond properly to issues that arise in order for the body to begin the repairing and healing process.
Head whiplash almost always knocks one or both bones out of place because of the force that was put on the area. An upper cervical chiropractor can scan and see where the misalignment is and by using very gentle and extremely precise movements, can correct the alignment so the brain to body communication is restored and the healing process from the injury can begin.
If you want to make sure your body can properly repair and heal itself from a head whiplash injury, an upper cervical adjustment can provide the natural treatment your body needs.