As a doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Smith is concerned about the misconceptions that surround whiplash injuries.
For instance, did you know that a car’s speed of impact does not predict the risk of whiplash injury? Any accident, even a minor fender bender, can cause serious conditions. And, are you aware that pain might not surface until years after a whiplash accident?
So, if not the speed of impact, what predicts the extent of injury? Dr. Smith finds that a patient’s posture during a collision plays a role. A study conducted at the University of Alberta confirms this.
Specifically, patients who have their heads turned to one side during a low-speed motor vehicle accident are less likely to develop whiplash.
“The act of turning the head tenses the muscles, which prevents movement of the neck and decreases the chances of soft tissue injury,” explained study author Dr. Shrawan Kumar (Clin Biomech 2004;19:899-905).
Dr. Smith is certainly not suggesting, of course, that patients turn their heads to one side before a collision, since taking your eyes from the road will increase an accident’s chances of additional harm.
Dr. Smith does recommend a chiropractic assessment as soon as possible after an accident — even a minor accident. Detecting and caring for vertebral subluxations soon after a whiplash injury dramatically decreases the risk of immediate and future problems.