For those that have been involved in an event such as a rear-end car accident, they understand all too well the feeling of whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain. It is estimated that roughly three million cases of whiplash happen annually. This type of injury can happen in a car accident that occurs at a mere twelve miles per hour. Unfortunately, many people who experience whiplash may also experience connected mid-back pain.
In some patients, the effects of whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain can be felt for up to six months or more after the pain-inducing incident. Experiencing pain for such an extended time period can not only be uncomfortable, but it may also substantially impact an individual’s day to day responsibilities and activities, which is why those who are affected are increasingly turning to the chiropractic industry for pain relief.
Whiplash and Related Symptoms
Although whiplash can be sustained via multiple types of causes such as sports or even physical abuse, one of the most common is a rear-end car accident. Your vehicle being rear-ended by another can cause your neck to experience an abnormally fast back and forth movement known as whiplash.
People who experience whiplash often report the following symptoms within a week of the injury:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Pain and soreness in the back
- Limited range of motion for the neck
Although not as common, some individuals experiencing whiplash have also reported hearing a ringing in their ears as well as blurred vision.
Whiplash and Its Connection to Mid-Back Pain
Because whiplash visibly affects the neck when it occurs, the cervical spine (the neck portion of the body’s spine) is an obvious location to examine for injury and damage. However, research is increasingly showing whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain warrants equal attention. Several studies have shown that more than half of people experiencing whiplash also report having mid-back pain, some of which said they continued to have pain as long as twelve months after the original injury.
The following may help explain whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain. The human head generally weighs about twelve pounds. For a reference point, consider the weight of a bowling ball. Now imagine that bowling ball in place of the head in a rear-end accident. In combination with the force of the vehicle who hit you, the weight of that bowling ball is thrust forward and backward extremely fast. That violent and unexpected shift of weight can significantly impact the soft tissues that connect the mid and upper back to the base of the human skull, which often results in back pain.
When a number of tissues and muscles in both the neck and back are affected by a vehicle collision, it often increases symptoms of pain for the individual affected. Not only could the mid-back pain be more intense in nature, but it may impact the related muscles in a way that could result in pinched nerves and modified back posture that could reduce the spine’s overall mobility.
It is important to note that back pain may not be noticeable in the minutes or hours after the vehicle collision. This may be due to the fact that the whiplash injury was sustained primarily in the cervical spine. However, over the following days and weeks back pain could develop as the result of the thoracic spine (located in the middle and upper part of the back) trying to compensate for the cervical spine injury by supporting more weight than normal. In the end, this may result in the overuse of the thoracic spine, which may very well yield subsequent back pain and injury.
How A Kingwood Chiropractor Can Help
A concern for many patients after an injury such as whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain can be becoming dependent on medication to dull neck and back pain. Generally, chiropractors do not recommend the use of prescription or over the counter pain medications to help relieve pain but instead rely on a combination of spinal manipulation, exercise, and other types of physical therapy to help a patient experience relief and healing. This is why an increasing number of people affected by whiplash and related back pain are turning to chiropractors for help.
An objective of the chiropractic professionals is to treat the whole patient. This is key because, as noted above, some injuries can cause subsequent pain in additional locations. For this reason, a patient visiting a chiropractor for whiplash and backpain will typically receive a full physical examination to see if any other areas of concern are visibly noticeable via professional observation.
In addition to the physical exam, it is critically important for the patient to relay any past injuries or other pertinent health information to the chiropractor so they will have a full patient history. Patients will also be asked to detail the scope and extent of their current injuries including where and how long they have been experiencing symptoms of discomfort and pain.
With his data in mind, a chiropractor will discuss the patient’s specific objectives for chiropractic treatment, such as feeling less pain, or being able to better function in their daily activities. The treatment plan for whiplash and related mid-back pain may include one or more of the following methods:
- Spinal manipulation
- Other manual therapies
- Daily exercises
- Nutritional guidance
The type and severity of each individual’s pain is unique. Whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain are experienced differently by patients. For this reason, each patient’s treatment plan will frequently vary in terms of the number of sessions required, the amount of exercises prescribed, and lifestyle changes they are encouraged to make at home, as well as their ability to commit to each of these different areas.
Whiplash and its connection to mid-back pain can be the unfortunate result of vehicle collisions, sports injuries, and a variety of other situations. However, seeking professional Kingwood chiropractic care soon after experiencing the injury may be helpful in alleviating pain more quickly and avoiding overcompensation in other areas of the body that could lead to additional injuries.