Motor vehicle accidents as little as 2 miles an hour have been shown to potentially move bones in ones body. When bones are displaced or subluxated, they have been shown to have a greater likelihood of “rubbing on each other” or wearing on each other causing more rapid degeneration. Research excerpts below:
Whiplash Associated Disorders
The pathway from acute pain to chronic pain syndrome, a biopsychosocial dilemma
Author: James J. Lehman, DC, and Anthony D. Nicholson, MChiro/Friday, January 08, 2016/Categories: October 2015
Cervical Facet Joint Injuries (Zygapophyseal Joints)
Neuroscientific studies have demonstrated since 1976 that whiplash patients suffer with chronic headaches and neck pain because of cervical zygapophyseal joint pain. Approximately 50 percent of these patients experience upper cervical spine joint pain and headaches, while 60 percent experience lower cervical spine joint pain and chronic neck pain following whiplash-type injuries. The biomechanical rationale suggests that sprain injury or overs stretching of the zygapophyseal joint capsules stimulates the firing of pain receptors. It has been demonstrated that spinal manual therapy has been effective with the treatment of chronic neck pain due to whiplash-type injuries.
Intervertebral Disc Injuries
Patients often present with injuries to the intervertebral discs and ligaments following whiplash-type injuries.(42) Large disc protrusions demonstrated on MRI may cause severe and persistent radiating pain. Without early detection and successful conservative care, surgical interventions may be necessary to alleviate the severe radiating pain. Unfortunately, patients with severe injuries to the skull and cervical spine are often misdiagnosed initially. Jonsson et al. reported that 90 percent of whiplash-injured patients with severe sprains to the cervical spine and rupture of ligamentous soft tissues were missed after radiographic examination. Even more alarming, 98 percent of whiplash-injured patients with discoligamentous sprains were missed with the initial radiographic examination. It is common that whiplash patients with multiple-level soft-tissue injuries such as ruptured intervertebral discs are misdiagnosed upon initial examination within medical facilities, most especially the emergency rooms.
Cervical Muscle Strains
The study by Brault, Siegmund and Wheeler demonstrated that muscles contract rapidly in response to rear-end motor vehicle collisions, and the potential for muscle injury exists due to lengthening contractions. During the acute phase of evaluation, the physical examination procedures requiring provocative maneuvers must be performed carefully in order to prevent additional insult to the traumatized soft tissues. It is important that the clinician perform, an appropriate physical examination and differentiate the soft-tissue whiplash-type injury. The chiropractic physician should educate these patients in order to prevent additional whiplash injuries. Patients should be advised to reduce the distance between the head and head restraint while traveling in motor vehicles.
Degenerative Tissue Changes
A 2011 study demonstrated temporal development of fatty infiltrates in the cervical musculature (multifidi) following whiplash injury and an association with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. A follow-up MRI study, published in 2015, provided further evidence of rapid and progressive degeneration of the cervical musculature following whiplash injuries with fatty infiltration.