A whiplash injury occurs when the head and neck are thrown very quickly in one direction and then rebounds in another. Studies indicate that injury can occur at impact speeds of 8 mph where there is little or no damage to the car itself. National Transportation Safety Council: A one vehicle accident at 10 mph is the equivalent of a person from a second story elevation throwing a 50 lb. sack on you.
Many accident victims falsely assume that wearing their seatbelt reduced the risk of Whiplash injury. Seatbelts can actually increase the likelihood and degree of neck injury. Now, no one denies that seat-belts save lives, but when the body is firmly secured to the seat, the seatbelt actually increases the “whipping” action of the neck this can increase injury to the neck and its supporting structures. Soft tissue injuries are often not visualized on x-rays and frequently overlooked. Soft tissue injuries can cause severe debilitating pain after a car accident.
Although “rear ender” type of accidents represent on 20% of motor vehicle accidents, it causes 80% of injuries giving long-term and persistent symptoms. An older accident victim will generally suffer more serious injury because of decreased elasticity, dramatic loss of flexibility and strength, and slowing of the natural healing rate. Auto accident victims have an 80% higher incidence of osteoarthritis and get it faster.
If you have been in a car accident with an impact of 10 mph or greater it is a good idea to get checked out by your local chiropractor who is well trained to evaluate and treat these types of injuries.