Commonly Missed and Misunderstood Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Collisions
Diagnosing and treating injures related to traumas such as those from a motor vehicle injures requires an advanced understanding of the biomechanics of the spine. Dr Chris Gubbels of Square ONE specializes in biomechanics and advanced spine correction.
Both the normal shape and function of the spine can be altered in a MVC. A normal health cervical spine has reversed C-shaped curve
called a lordosis. Additionally each vertebra has a normal amount of movement within each joint. Just like an athlete injuring joint after an impact or sudden change in direction, similar types of injuries can happen in the spine after a whiplash injury.
Sudden impacts such as those from front or rear end impacts can causes the spinal joints to move beyond their normal limits causing damage to connective tissues, boney structures and other soft tissues. These injuries frequently cause alteration in both form and function of the cervical spine.
A normal health cervical spine has a lordotic shaped curve of about 30º – 45º. This curve is needed for spinal stability. One study looking at 500 individuals found 82% of those that had been in a MVC had a loss of the normal curve. Additionally, many times connective tissues can be stretched or torn called ligament subfailure injuries. Just like when an athlete tears a ligament in his/her knee, this causes instability in the spinal joints allowing them to move beyond their normal limits. These injuries are frequently undetected, undiagnosed and often not properly treated by providers.
A loss or reversal of the normal cervical curve can cause additional injuries and health problems if left uncorrected including: degenerative disc disease, bone spur formation, compression of the spinal cord, decreased muscle strength, poor surgical outcomes and even decreased blood flow to the brain.
Insurance provider frequently try to limit patient visits and group soft tissues into muscle spasms. Ligamentous tissue may take 12-18 months to heal and sometimes may never fully return to normal (2). Croft guidelines estimate ligament injuries may take 56 weeks or more and up to 76 or more visits for full recovery, every case is different.
Anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision should be evaluated by a health care professional that specializes in diagnosing and treating injures related to traumatic events. Many injures may not cause symptoms of for weeks to months after the initial event and healing for some injures is frequently beyond just symptom relief.
Dr Chris Gubbels D.C. of Square ONE specialized in spinal biomechanics and diagnosing and treating injuries caused by traumas such as those from motor vehicle collisions. We train with world leading experts and stay up-to-date on current research and treatments.
BEFORE TREATMENT AFTER TREATMENT
Ligament subfailure injuries lead to muscle dysfunction. Panjabie Fysioterapeuten nr. 10 octorber 2007
Injury and Repair of the Musculoskeletal Soft Tissue. American Academy of Othropaedic Surgeons. Woo S, Buckwalter JA
Kellett J. Acute soft tissue injuries – a review of the literature. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1986 Oct; 18(5):489-500