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Whiplash:

Whiplash or injuries in auto accidents are different than any other kind of injury. Impact force is the hardest thing on the human body. When a 3000-5000 lb vehicle strikes another vehicle at 20 mph it can create up to 27 tons of impact force on the spine in 1/10th of a second. That's equivalent to a car driving off the roof of a 5 story building. The human head weighs 12-14 lbs and the only thing holding it up are muscles, ligaments, joint capsules and discs. When all this connective tissue gets torn or stretched, it disrupts the stability of the spine and can lead not only to chronic pain, but degenerative changes that last a lifetime. That's why the first 6 weeks after an injury are critical to prevent permanent injury or disability. It can affect how a patient feels for the next 20 years. A broken bone will heal whether you set it or not, but if it's not reset it will heal out of alignment. It's the same with whiplash injury, only incomplete healing can result in a tremendous amount of scar tissue, weakness, and hypersensitivity that can last years and even a life time. It also leaves a patient much more susceptible to re-injury and much more rapid degenerative changes as time goes on.