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“Acceleration depends on the force applied and the inertia of the vehicle that has been struck. The force is dependent upon the weight and speed of the striking vehicle, so that a streetcar traveling as 3 mph can apply as much force and initiate the same degree of acceleration as a compact car traveling at 40 mph.”  That quote was taken from Ian Macnab, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto, Chief of Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wellesley Hospital, Toronto in the article “Acceleration Extension Injuries of the Cervical Spine” Chapter 10 in THE SPINE by Rothman and Simeone. WB Saunders Company, 1982 Page 648

What the article is telling us is that while a vehicle may be able to absorb the impact of an accident without any “real” damage to the vehicle itself, that percussive effect transmitting through your body is a different story. Your body is made up of mostly water which sloshes around tearing up delicate fibers within our bodies. The damage is micro, but it feels immensely especially in the neck because that is the least support structure.

The neck supports a head that weighs anywhere from 8-15 lbs. When the head is thrown back and forward in a vehicle collision, the stresses of this rapid motion on the neck tear tissues, throw joints out of place, and rip muscles causing them to go into spasms. I have seen cervical curves in a reverse curve after motor vehicle collision because the rapid acceleration deceleration that occurs at impact.

Chiropractic is not like an orthodontist, where the orthodontist is able to move bone [in this case – teeth] with wires and screws [braces] and people get to see it. Chiropractors when they work at restoring the curvature of the neck, must first deal with the impact’s soft tissue tears, the pain and inflammation, in the area. We, primarily, start with the pain and inflammation with a touch of adjusting at patient tolerance levels. As the patient starts healing from the soft tissue tears, we get serious about the movement of the bones back to normal position. But it is like moving a refrigerator in place, a little on one side of the bone and a little on the other side, with every visit. That is why it takes a few weeks of therapy and adjusting to correct the problem.

If you are suffering from any combination of symptoms like constant headaches, muscle tension, burning pain, throbbing between the shoulders, radiating pain down arms and stiff neck, you might consider coming into the office to have it examined to see what bio-mechanical condition your body structure is really in.

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