Injuries and accidents are dangerous not only for the fact that they cause pain, but also for the fact that they, if left untreated or checked out, can cause permanent damage to the affected area.
The most common injury to affect the neck is whiplash. Whiplash most often occurs as a result of a car accident and refers to an injury that causes pain and stiffness in the neck after the neck was forced to suddenly move further than its normal range of motion. This sudden motion causes sprains in the ligaments and muscles in the neck. Whiplash may also lead to nerve damage or even broken bones in rare cases. Sometimes the symptoms of whiplash take a few days to manifest, which leads to the thought that nothing is wrong or that you are not as injured as you truly are. It is important to see a chiropractor within the first few days following the accident so he or she can assess the damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
There are two main types of injuries affecting the back: spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy. Spondyloloisthesis refers to a slipping of the vertebrae located at the base of the spine. This slipping causes lower back pain, muscle tightness/stiffness, pain that spreads down to the legs, muscle weakness and discomfort in the gluteal muscles. Cervical radiculopathy is the disturbance or damage of nerve function that occurs when nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae are compressed. Damage to these nerve roots may cause pain, numbness and weakness in the neck, arms and shoulders depending on where the damaged nerve roots are located. As is the case with whiplash, symptoms of these injuries may not manifest immediately. This is why it is very important to see a chiropractor shortly after the injury occurs so he or she can minimize their harmful effects.