The effects of Road Traffic Accidents on the neck are well-known: in a head-on collision the head is shaken violently forwards and then backwards, causing strains in the ligaments in the neck and the associated muscles. In a side-on collision the strains may be more on one side than the other.

 

Less well-understood are the effects of such trauma on other parts of the body. As the head is shaken forwards, the weight of the body can be lifted up and a strain created through the whole spine to its base, and the pelvis. Then the body is slammed downwards again, as it is restrained by the seatbelt, compressing the spine and the pelvis again – all in a fraction of a second. At the same time, the internal organs of the body – soft and quite heavy – are also getting the same rapid acceleration-deceleration forces passed through them.

 

So a whiplash type of trauma is what osteopaths might think of as a whole-body injury, and while the neck may be the most obvious site for damage, and symptoms, other areas may suffer as well. In our experience, head and neck symptoms may persist for long periods, but may resolve better if other areas of the body are addressed as well.

 

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