Whiplash injuries are very common and are primarily associated with car and rear-end collisions in particular. This is what happens when you’re rear ended…
It may seem logical to think that if we can anticipate an impending MVC, then less injury will occur. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hold true because the total length of time it takes for the sequence described above to occur is about 600 ms and we cannot voluntarily contract our muscles in less than 800-1000 ms. Therefore, you simply won’t have time to brace yourself for impact.
If cervical rotation occurs at the time of impact, such as looking into the rearview mirror, then the risk for injury may increase. There is recent evidence suggesting that it is difficult to avoid rotation of the cervical region during a collision because the diagonal path of the chest restraint promotes trunk rotation in the later stage of whiplash as the torso rebounds forward. Nonetheless, looking straight ahead at the time of impact may reduce the degree of injury in some collisions.
To achieve the best long-term outcome, treatment should emphasize movement and exercise as soon as possible. In addition to treatments performed in the clinic, doctors of chiropractic commonly recommend whiplash patients to perform home exercises, home cervical traction, and other self-help methods with the objective of returning to a normal lifestyle as quickly as possible.