At the Osteopathic Health Centre Chester we can help you recover from a host of conditions including; low back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis and muscle spasms.

We are conveniently placed for visitors coming to us from all parts of; Cheshire, Wirral, Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales, Chester, Christleton, Tattenhall, Tarporley, Malpas, Kelsall, Helsby, Frodsham, Hawarden, Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Queensferry, Hawarden, Flint, Wrexham.

What is whiplash?

 

So many of us have been involved in motor vehicle accidents and, although seatbelts, head restraints and air bags help prevent major injuries, it is not uncommon to suffer whiplash. When a patient visits the Osteopathic Health Centre following a MVA we gather as much information as possible about how the accident took place so that we can get a clear idea of the forces that have been imprinted on the musculoskeletal system. This gives us useful clues as to which tissues have been overstretched, compressed, bruised etc. Our aim with osteopathic treatment is to help the body find its way back to a healthy balanced state.

 

 

Why doesn’t everyone suffer the same whiplash symptoms?

 
If there are four people in a car which has been ‘rear-ended’ there may be four different injuries resulting. Why is this? Here’s an example looked at from an osteopathic perspective...
 
  • Abi is the driver. She has slowed down as she approaches a roundabout. In her rear view mirror she sees the van speeding straight into the back of the car so braces her hands against the steering wheel.
     
  • Ben is the front seat passenger and is sitting back looking out his side window.
     
  • Carly is behind the driver and has her head forwards texting on her mobile.
     
  • Dom has slipped the seatbelt off his shoulder and under his arm and has his left leg crossed over the right as he leans crookedly against the side of the car.
 
 
 
When the crash happens, the force, coming straight from behind, impacts on each of their musculoskeletal structures in different ways because of their individual postures in the car...
 
  • Abi has probably reduced the movement of her head on her neck by anticipating and bracing herself, but she has tensed herself up across her shoulders and into her right leg as her foot pressed onto the brake pedal. As well as feeling very shocked, she feels her symptoms in the muscles across her upper back and down her right leg.
     
  • Ben, the front seat passenger with his back well supported and his head turned to the left doesn’t feel too bad getting out of the car but the next morning the top of this neck is very painful especially on the right and he has a nasty headache. His low back has also stiffened up overnight. He has probably sustained a ligamentous injury to the upper cervical spine which may take several weeks to settle.
     
  • Carly, busily texting, found herself getting thrown back into her seat by the momentum and, as she is tall and her head restraint was situated rather low, her head was whiplashed backwards into extension. All the muscles at the front of her neck were overstretched and sore especially the next morning when inflammation had built up. She also suffered bruising and pain across her chest from the seat belt and the base of her spine felt stiff.
     
  • Dom, leaning against the left hand side of the car with his left ankle on his right knee, has the twist in his body exaggerated by the impact. His left hip area is overstretched causing pain in his left buttock. Where the seat belt was tucked under his arm his ribs on the left feel bruised and sore. When he stands, he finds it hard to take his weight through his left hip.
 
 

As you can see from this illustration, the posture being held at the moment of impact can determine which joints and soft tissue structures are affected by a whiplash injury even though all four people were involved in the same incident.Other factors also come into play in determining how the accident affects each individual. We have to keep in mind the underlying health of the person. For example, if any one of our cases above had osteoarthritis or a previous injury it could make them especially susceptible to the effects of an impact. In addition, if the person was already under stress or tension then the accident may have a more traumatic effect because their muscles are already likely to be tense and therefore less resilient.