How to Protect Yourself against Whiplash

June 18, 2009 · Print This Article


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Almost 3 million Americans each year end up suffering from whiplash due to being involved in an automotive accident. Many will end up with chronic pain as a result of their injury. Whiplash is an injury resulting from the sudden distortion of the neck. The most common cause of whiplash is a car accident.

While our cars feature safety belts to restrain us in the case of an accident, these belts do not guard our necks. Some manufacturers such as Mercedes, Saab and Volvo have designed and begun implementing active head restraints to guard and protect against whiplash. The force of an impact tends to throw our heads forward and then back again, particularly during a rear end collision. This sudden, forceful movement is what can cause whiplash.

In order to better protect yourself against whiplash, there are some precautions you can take. Consider buying a safer vehicle. While this is not something everyone can run out and do, it is something to think about the next time you are in the market for a car. Check out the size of the car, its overall design, all of the restraints including whether or not a head restraint is offered. Review the safety records for the vehicle to find out how it performed in crash test ratings.

Brace yourself for impact

If you realize you are going to be in a car accident and have time to react, put your head and neck all the way back flat against your seat and the head rest or head restraint. Get a tight grip on your steering wheel with both hands. Press your foot on your brake as hard as you can if you are already at a stop. Raise your shoulders by shrugging them upward toward your ears and brace yourself tightly for impact.

If you are hit and think you may have suffered whiplash, seek chiropractic treatment as soon as possible. The earlier you are seen, the greater the likelihood the whiplash will be treatable and not lead to a chronic condition.  You should be seen within 2 weeks of the accident. Once you see the doctor, be sure you heed all advice given following any prescribed treatment plan including exercise, diet, wearing a collar, deep tissue massage work and so on.

If you are suffering from whiplash and need to get back to your daily routine, you may need to make some modifications first. Look for more ergonomic equipment such as an office chair with armrests to reduce neck strain from arm movements which pull on the upper back, shoulders and thus can strain the neck. Adjust your work station so your repetitive movements are minimized and so everything is positioned to provide the best support.

It has been said a chiropractor is the best cure or help for anyone suffering from whiplash. If you do ever find yourself in this situation, contact your chiropractor right away, without delay. He or she will best know how to treat you to minimize the pain and help you in a way that reduces the possibility of chronic pain ongoing.

About the Author

ryooDr. Ryoo’s Central Chiropractic Center is located in San Jose, CA. She uses a “whole person approach” when taking care of her patients. By combining the very best hands-on-technique, state of the art physiotherapy procedures, and providing the newest and best natural vitamins and mineral supplements on the market today, Dr. Ryoo is able to help you to accelerate and/or maintain your journey to good health.


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