Whip it, Whip it Real Good

If you’ve been in an auto accident, chances are you may be hurt worse than your car. Symptoms range from neck and back pain with headaches to ringing in the ears, tingling in the fingers or toes; to feeling like, well that you got hit by a car; and much, much more. It may be immediate or it could take years before you start to notice the symptoms, depending how much damage was done to your body, how big you and your car are and your age.

For you science geeks: Upon impact, the target vehicle begins to move forward into the occupant, making contact chiefly through the seat back. In accordance with Newton’s 1st law of motion, the occupant’s inertia resists this motion. As the seat back continues to move forward, the occupant must yield. Initially, the thoracic curve is flattened by the seat back. This results in a vertical compressive force which is transmitted through the spine. As the vertical compressive force continues up the spine, some rise of the torso also occurs. This is called ramping and is halted after 1-3 inches of vertical displacement, usually because of the restraining effect of the seat belt and the weight of the torso. Meanwhile, as the torso now is undergoing both a -z acceleration vertically and a forward x linear acceleration, the head-also acting in accordance with Newton’s 1st law of motion-resists this motion. As the vertical force extends upwards into the neck it initiates flexion of the upper cervical motion segments and hyperextension of the lower segments. Compression then quickly gives way to tension as the upward moving head and now downward moving torso attempt to disengage. Also, as the torso moves forward with respect to the head, significant amounts of horizontal shear force occur in the neck roughly parallel to the facet joint line, and now for the rest of us: Your head snaps back and forth like a whip, jacking everything up.
The damage never goes away on its own and may actually get worse over time. If you’re in pain after a car accident, or have been in a car accident and want to prevent the pain from coming. Give us a call: 443-512-0025
Dr. Shawn R Lee, chiropractor; Susquehanna Spine & Rehab. Chiropractic, Physical Therapy & Massage in Bel Air & Abingdon, Harford County Maryland