Linking Whiplash to Herniated Cervical Discs and Radiculopathy

Whiplash is among the most devastating of cervical spine injuries. The rapid acceleration-deceleration movement is powerful enough to tear muscles and ligaments, tear and bruise soft tissue, and herniate cervical discs. Further, it’s a condition that often doesn’t get the attention it demands, due to the late-onset nature of many symptoms.

As symptoms do develop, they usually take the form of radiculopathy pain. The face, neck, shoulders, arms, and even hands can swell and ache, losing mobility and feeling depending on the severity of the whiplash. As these symptoms get worse, it can indicate ongoing nerve damage. The entire situation is one that needs a swift resolution – otherwise, the patient in question may face long-term, chronic cervical spine problems.

At Ideal Spine, our focus on treating whiplash is qualifying it through the radiculopathy and herniated cervical discs it presents with. In assessing these symptoms, we’re able to assess the severity of the whiplash incident and better equip ourselves with the right approach to remedying it.

Qualifying radiculopathy

Radiculopathy results from a pinched nerve root, which sends pain signals throughout the entire extent of the nerve. For cervical nerve bundles, this means extending as far as the face or hands. It’s why whiplash-related compression often presents in face, neck, shoulder, arm, and hand numbness or pain.

Being able to trace and qualify the extent of radiculopathy gives chiropractors insight into the specific vertebrae affected by whiplash. For example, if nerve bundles in C7 (the lowest cervical vertebrae) become pinched, it may present in arm numbness. Likewise, if a patient presents with chronic and persistent headaches or cheek pain, C3-C4 maybe a focus.

The key in tracing radiculopathy is to look past the site of the pain, back to its point of origin. Chiropractors tracing referred pain will quickly be able to get a handle on the lasting effects of whiplash, even long after the incident.

Herniated disc links to pain

A major contributing factor to radiculopathy is a herniated disc. These displaced discs are the reason behind nerve compression and signal disruption. Tracing radiculopathy pain back to a point of origin generally leads to a herniated disc, which is something most chiropractors can assess and qualify via simple palpitation. Until this disc is corrected and reset, affected nerves will continue to suffer.

Linking it all back to whiplash

Upon visiting a chiropractor, most people will make mention of any major car accidents they’ve been in, tipping the chiropractor off to whiplash immediately. But, many don’t take the time or have the forethought to mention minor fender benders. The fact is, a severe case of whiplash can occur even if the airbag doesn’t deploy in your car. So long as the rocking motion of your cervical spine is strong enough, whiplash can occur at collisions as slow as 5 miles per hour.

Upon qualifying radiculopathy pain and discovering a herniated disc, many chiropractors will inquire about whiplash events. Whether it’s from a very minor car accident, a roller coaster ride, or even playing sports, the condition frequently comes to light after a patient is presented with the facts about the causes of their pain.

Putting the pieces together

Like a detective, chiropractors must frequently put together the clues of a condition to hypothesize its cause. In cases of whiplash, this is particularly true. Radiculopathy and a herniated disc often point to whiplash as a catalyst.

If you’re experiencing pain symptomatic with a recent neck trauma, it’s important to get checked out for whiplash. Ideal Spine may be able to help catch the condition in its early stages, before symptoms manifest enough for you to suffer long-term. All it takes is some careful sleuthing!

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See for providers in your area.

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Meridian, ID 83642

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Fax: 208-209-6009
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