From a neutral position place your right hand on your head and slowly pull the top of your head forward until you reach the limit. This next time from neutral position, turn your head all the way to your left and keep it there. Now place your right hand on your head and slowly pull the top of your head forward until you reach the limit. You will notice that the joints in your neck bind or reach their limit a lot quicker the second time. This means in a whiplash accident your muscles would have a lot less time to slow your neck down before things start to tear in your neck. So if you know you are going to have an accident, do not turn your neck to look in the back or to the side to look at a passenger. Doing this would cause a lot more damage to your neck than the same accident at the same speed if you kept your neck in neutral position during the accident. Neutral position means sitting up in your seat with your head held level to the horizon as if looking straight ahead.
Most of the patients I treat are seeing me for pain from an injury that began sometimes years if not decades ago in an automobile accident. A joint will get damaged in the accident and never move again. You may not notice it except for some minor stiffness because the other joints in your neck or back are still working and often will begin moving more to make up for the lost motion of one joint. These damaged joints can be seen well on motion or bending x-rays. If this non-moving joint is found it is also most always the same joint that has arthritis or degenerative disc disease. Because when something doesn't move in our spine it rots, for lack of a better word. If caught early enough the movement can usually be restored or improved and the arthritic changes slowed or stopped. I have an office full of patients that wished they'd come in sooner so if you've had an auto accident it makes sense to have your self looked at by a chiropractor in addition to your regular exams with your medical doctor.
If you have any questions about how you may have injured your self please call me.
Dr. Rex Ireland