Back and Neck Injury/whiplashes/prevention

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Dr. Carr,

I suffered twice whiplash injury within 4 years from car accidents unfortunately.  Both occurred suddenly while my car was standing still and got hit from behind. The symptoms repeat itself: Delayed but sustain pain that required NSAD for 2 weeks.  Part of my neck muscles are quite stiff and sometimes they lock when I turn my head which is really painful.  My Q's:

1. Could you please explain what's causing this locking of my neck muscles?  How can I totally alleviate this, if it is possible at all?
2.In order to prevent another whiplash injury, are there some protective collar one can wear while driving the car (i.e. just like those formula one drivers do)?  Are they available for regular drivers?  Where can I find more information about this?
3. Could whiplash injury be totally cured? What is the telltale symptoms when one might be suffering permanent damage due to whiplash?
Thank you in advance for your help.  A concerned sufferer

ANSWER: So, first letme say I'm sorry for the trauma... cars are big and dangerous!  I was reminded by one of my patients that at least inthe days of horses, the horse would look out for itself.  Muscles lock when they go into spasm.  The best explanation for this is that they are trying a method of "emergency splinting" to keep you from damaging yourself further.  This often happens when the ligaments in the neck have been damaged, like it sounds liker yours have.

I would take simple stress view cervical pictures (xrays) to see if this has occurred.

As for question #2... I don't think the horse collar's such a great idea. There are a lot of great cars out therefor safety rating these days, and they incorporate exploding bolts in the seats, airbags from everywhere, giant crumple zones, and even amazing detection cameras.   If you want to go "old school" on this problem, get a bigger car.  The mass alone will protect you.  

Unfortunately, whiplash can't fully be cured.  That said, with proper care it's entirely possible to get the tissues back to 95%.  I would say visit a certified chiropractor, and that certified list is found on the San Diego Spine Research Institute's website.  I'll let you Google that. If you are in Seattle, by all means come see me. My website is Dynamic Chiropractic Clinic.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr. Carr,
Thank you for your kind reply which was inspiring. Two more related questions:
1)Are there sports/activities that best be avoided for whiplash sufferers? For example, playing golf and violin?  

2)Do we need to have a period of rest or one should/could carry on daily tasks when still feeling the neck and shoulder?

Thanks again and aslo for the link (very impressive). Will visit if happen to be in Seattle.
Best wishes,
ML

Answer
Sorry for the delay.  Sports wise:  Really, anything that strains the neck, or shakes it, not so hot.  Golf and violin would be fine, I think.

I think you should go about your daily life... what else can one do?  Follow up with your local chiro and see what they say!

Back and Neck Injury

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Dr. Peter Carr

Expertise

I can answer spine related issues, as well as golf, running, and whiplash related issues. I run a very busy practice in Downtown Seattle, Dynamic Chiropractic Clinic, and sometimes do not get to answer questions every day, but when I do, I'll try my best to answer the question(s) you have.

Experience

I have a doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic, and am a Certified Chiropractic Golf Practitioner. I am also a lecturer on whiplash injury, certified in the etiology and treatment of auto accident cases, and was a national-level mid distance runner.

Organizations
American Chiropractic Association, Washington State Chiropractic Association, Whiplash Seattle Member and founder

Publications
Dynamic Chiropractic, The Beacon

Education/Credentials
DC, BS

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