1. Being pregnant.
- During pregnancy, particularly the first trimester, women release more relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone that essentially relaxes the entire body, loosening the ligaments. The body does this to specifically loosen the pelvic ligaments for an easier delivery. Unfortunately, the pelvic ligaments aren’t the only ligaments that loosen. The ligaments that protect the alignment of the head and neck also loosen, meaning there is a higher risk of sustaining an injury.
2. Head rotated at the time of the collision.
- When the head is rotated (turned to the left or right) during a car accident, the risk of damaging the upper cervical ligaments skyrockets. These ligaments are already fragile as is, and when the head is turned, more strain is put on them because they are being tightly stretched.
- Pair this with an extreme force from another vehicle and you have a recipe for disaster – increasing the risk of upper cervical ligament rupture.
- Also, when the head is turned, the intervertebral foramen (holes where the cervical nerve roots pass through) reduce in size which will choke off the nerve supply and increase the risk of developing radiculopathy (numbness and tingling) into the arms, hands, and fingers.
3. A small vehicle hit by a large vehicle.
- It’s a simple math equation. Force = mass x acceleration. The larger the vehicle and the faster the vehicle, the more damage will be done. This is why car insurance companies are willing to cover more of your treatment costs if you are hit by a city bus or a semi-truck.
4. Being a woman/child.
- Compared to men, women and children are genetically built with less dense soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). Because the soft tissues are what protect the neck joints, women and children are at a higher risk of sustaining a neck injury.
5. Getting hit at speeds 15 mph or LESS.
- That’s right, LESS! Don’t underestimate the damage that can be done by low-speed car accidents. In fact, car accidents at speeds under 15 mph can do more damage than speeds of 20-35 mph. This is because when the speeds are lower, less damage is done to the vehicle, and more damage is done to the passengers.
- When the vehicle takes the damage, the force is absorbed. If the vehicle does not look damaged, you know the force was transferred through the passengers inside, increasing their risk for injury.
6. Getting hit at speeds 45 mph or MORE.
- When speeds exceed 45 mph, it’s no surprise the severity of the injury increases. In fact, the chances of dying or being seriously injured double for every 10 mph over 50 mph – this equates to a 400% greater chance at 70 mph than 50 mph.
7. Didn’t see the crash coming.
- If you are hit by another vehicle and were not expecting it, the risk of sustaining a serious whiplash injury increases along with permanently stretching out the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments).
- If you are relaxed, the soft tissue cannot hold the joints in their proper position.
- By bracing yourself (tightening muscles and locking out the joints) you stand a much better chance of protecting your joints and soft tissue. In fact, this is the best strategy to protect yourself if you know you are about to be hit.
8. Wet road conditions.
- When the road is wet, not only are vehicles harder to control, but the acceleration on the vehicle also increases.
9. Airbags deploy.
- You know the collision is serious when the force is great enough to trigger the electronic sequence to deploy the airbag(s).
10. Wearing a Seatbelt.
- Although seatbelts lower the risk of death, they also increase the risk of neck injury.
- When the body is held back from the shoulder strap, this leaves the head and neck in a vulnerable position.
- Because there’s nothing holding the head tightly against the headrest, the chances that the head will sling forward upon a collision increase substantially.
- This is how serious cervical whiplash injuries are caused.
We encourage everyone reading this, if you ever get into a car accident, go see your upper cervical chiropractor for an evaluation within 3 days.
And if possible go to an upper cervical NUCCA chiropractor, someone that is gentle and specific when working with your neck.
NUCCA is the perfect fit for car accident whiplash injuries because of how gentle and specific it is.
We don’t recommend any twisting or cracking neck adjustments after an accident.
And the best part is, most of your medical expenses, including chiropractic, are covered by your car insurance.
Click below to schedule a free Video Consultation with Dr. Corey Burt to see if NUCCA Chiropractic is right for you.