Spinal Ligament Injury
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Spinal Ligament Injury Is The Number One Cause Of Pain, Disability & Expense In Whiplash Injuries From Car Crashes
Spinal Ligament injury is well documented as one the most common injuries in a whiplash trauma following a motor vehicle collision. When spinal ligaments are over-stretched or torn due to vehicular collision trauma, there will always be some degree of permanent injury, because healing occurs with scar tissue that is not as functional as healthy non-injured tissue. The problem is most chiropractors and medical doctors, including emergency room doctors, are not looking for this type of underlying injury.
Ligament sub-failure is like pulling on a plastic straw until it stretches a little bit but does not tear all the way through. We all know the straw will never return to its original amount of elasticity and strength.
The increase of whiplash spinal ligament injuries has been caused, in part, by the strengthening of motor vehicle bumper systems intended to minimize or avoid property damage to the vehicles involved in a wreck. However, in reality, these stronger bumper systems cause an instantaneous transfer of crash energy trauma to the occupants, which causes the mechanism of injury in low-speed and higher-speed collisions. The NHTSA bumper regulations were intended to protect vehicles, not the people inside.
Injury To Spinal Ligaments Are Always Permanent, Painful, And Progressive.
Ligaments are specialized soft tissue that holds your spinal vertebrae together while permitting normal movement. Injured spinal ligaments allow irregular movement causing spinal instability. The joints of your spinal column that are affected by this irregular movement cause galloping spinal degeneration, leading to chronic pain and the need for future chiropractic and medical management over the injury victim’s lifetime.
Our Chiropractic Physicians are specifically seeking to find and diagnose these underlying spinal ligament injuries through specialized X-rays and computerized mensuration. This medically accepted mensuration is called Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis (CRMA). CRMA is considered the gold standard for providing objective proof, as per the 6th edition of the AMA Guide to Permanent Injuries.
Our Car Accident Injury Doctors and Lawyers Are Aware Of The Devastation That Spinal Ligament Injury Brings Into Your Life And Well Being
We have studied the medical science and legal ramifications concerning the different types of spinal ligamentous injuries and we use this science as legal objective proof of the degree of damage. At Collision Injury Auto Accident Treatment, our chiropractic physicians are up to date with the scientific cause and nature of ligamentous injuries. Not only do we educate you, the accident victim, about your injuries, but we also protect you legally with specific third-party measurements that prove you have ligament damage if is truly present.
Our goal is to educate our accident injury victims to understand the absolutely serious nature of these spinal ligament injuries and to encourage them to seek appropriate examination and treatment following an automobile crash as soon as possible. Taking advantage of the initial window of opportunity for healing is imperative. Otherwise, scar tissue starts to form. This scar tissue is weaker and less flexible than normal tissue, which can lead to further pain and injury in the future. The goal of seeking treatment as soon as possible is to help you develop a more functional type of healing tissue repair, thereby minimizing the degree of permanency from your crash injuries. Reestablishing normal spinal motion through proper treatment, specifically spinal manipulative therapy, is critical to repairing damaged ligaments and other soft connective tissues.
Spinal ligament injuries are typically caused by motor vehicle crash trauma resulting in ligament laxity. These spinal ligament injuries in the past have just been swept under the diagnostic rug as “whiplash Injuries.” These injuries can be painful and debilitating and impact a person’s quality of life in numerous ways. Let’s take a closer look at spinal ligament injuries and laxity, how they occur, and what can be done to manage and treat them.
What are spinal ligament injuries and laxity?
Spinal ligament injuries and laxity refer to damage or stretching of the ligaments that support the Spine. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones, providing stability and support to the body. The Spine ligaments help maintain proper alignment and prevent excessive movement of the vertebrae, which can lead to nerve compression, disc herniation, and other spinal problems.
Vehicular trauma and whiplash can cause spinal ligament injuries and laxity by subjecting the Spine to sudden and excessive forces. In a car accident, for example, the body is subjected to rapid acceleration and deceleration forces that can cause the head and neck to whip forward and backward. This can cause the ligaments in the Spine to stretch or tear, leading to pain, inflammation, and instability.
Symptoms of spinal ligament injuries and laxity
Spinal ligament injuries and laxity can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Muscle weakness
- Limited Range of motion
- Difficulty sitting or standing for extended periods
- Difficulty sleeping
These signs and symptoms may develop immediately after the injury, or they may show up over time. Occasionally, the signs of spinal ligament damage or laxity can be so subtle that the patient is completely unaware of the problem. But, if an injury is left untreated for too long, it can develop into a chronic condition characterized by pain and other symptoms.
Your spinal column is held together by more than two hundred twenty (220) different specialized ligaments. The spinal ligaments’ purpose is to retain the spinal vertebrae in optimal alignment during periods of complicated movement patterns in our daily activities. Ideally, ligaments allow complex movement patterns to occur without irritating or interfering with the nerve, which can cause severe difficulties such as discomfort, muscle weakness, sensory abnormalities, tingling in the arms, sciatica, migraines, and a plethora of other symptoms.
First Things First When Diagnosing Spinal Ligament Injury
An essential practice of spinal ligament injury diagnosis is the physical exam. Your chiropractic physician is trained to use physical examination, especially a protocol called palpation, which is to feel with your fingers and hands. The Chiropractic physician will palpate areas of pain and tenderness. They are looking for edema or swelling throughout the affected spinal regions. They will measure the accident injury victim’s Range of motion, noting any decrease or increase of normal ranges of motion. They will primarily document any pain during ROM testing. They will measure muscle strength by physical resistance. The physician should perform the x-rays discussed in this commentary in a real-time examination before performing muscle testing or orthopedic nerve compression tests.
It is important to note that chiropractors also use functional assessment. This involves observing and documenting the injured person performing routine tasks like getting up from a chair, standing, and walking to gauge their functional abilities. Chiropractic and Medical Physicians can detect areas of weakness or instability by analyzing the patient’s walk and posture.
Ligamentous laxity and injury in the Spine: a diagnostic challenge
Imaging procedures, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, will typically be ordered to assess spinal ligament damage and laxity. One should note that these tests actually have a low sensitivity for diagnosing spinal ligament injury leading to spinal ligament laxity! Also, board-certified medical radiologists do not comment on the vertebrae above the C2 level when interpreting MRI studies. I always thought that was peculiar because there are ligaments at those levels.
Radiologists will quickly opine that spinal ligament injuries and laxity can not be seen on X-rays or other imaging studies. Spinal stress X-rays are used to precisely pinpoint where ligament damage has occurred in the Spine.
There is a new gold standard for injury chiropractors and medical physicians, including board-certified medical radiologists, to determine which ligaments are damaged and how loose (lax) the two contiguous vertebrae are in relation to each other. The gold standard for deciding spinal ligament injury is the Computerized Radiological Mensuration Technique CRMA. (Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis) This advanced x-ray measurement technology allows Board Certified Medical Radiologists to accurately measure the exact abnormal intersegmental motion problems that occur with a spinal ligament injury that causes spinal instability and are not generally located on MRI. This gold standard is the only method accepted by the “AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.”
It is a specific measurement of the relationship between two adjacent vertebrae. This protocol used is called Stress X-ray mensuration. Mensuration is the medical term for measuring the vertebral relationship compared to the vertebra above to the vertebra below. (Mensuration is the branch of mathematics that studies the measurement of geometric figures and their parameters such as length, volume, shape, surface area, and lateral surface area)
The stress x-rays utilize a Davis Series plus two other stress views called right and left lateral bending anterior to posterior open mouth views. The abbreviation is Davis series with R&L LATERAL APOM. There are nine x-rays for the x-ray study to determine ligament damage.
Spinal stress X-rays identify where spinal ligament injury has transpired in your Spine.
Your Spine is held together by more than two hundred twenty (220) different specialized ligaments. The spinal ligaments’ purpose is to maintain the spinal vertebrae’s best functional orientation during complex anatomic movement in our normal daily activities. In an ideal world, ligaments would let complex motions take place without irritating or interfering with the nerve, which can cause pain, muscle weakening, odd sensations, tingling in the arms, sciatica, headaches, and a wide variety of other symptoms.
Ligament injury causes ligament laxity, leading to excessive motion, which can be identified with stress X-rays with CRMA, and disc herniation can be detected with MRI. Stress X-rays do not detect disc herniations, and magnetic resonance imaging does not detect abnormal spinal motion. The combination of these imaging protocols is necessary to determine if spinal ligament injury is present in addition to disc herniation.
How do chiropractic adjustments help spinal ligament injury?
Chiropractic adjustments are a form of manual therapy that can help to realign the Spine and reduce pain and inflammation. For accident injury victims who have suffered a spinal ligament injury, chiropractic management is proving to be an effective treatment option to help reduce pain and promote the healing of spinal ligament injuries.
Spinal adjustments performed by chiropractic physicians have the potential to speed healing, lessen discomfort, and reduce inflammation in patients with spinal ligament injuries. Chiropractic management can help by realigning the Spine and releasing tension on the damaged ligaments to restore normal spinal alignment and alleviate pressure on the affected region of your spinal injury.
Physical manual therapies that may be incorporated into chiropractic care have been shown to speed up the healing process by increasing blood flow, decreasing muscle tension, and relieving pressure on the injured ligaments. This also improves the physiological motor function of your Spine.
It is important to note that while chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for spinal ligament injuries, it may not be appropriate for all individuals. It is essential to seek care from a licensed and experienced chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments are typically safe and effective when performed by a qualified professional but can be dangerous if performed incorrectly or by an unlicensed practitioner.
Overall, chiropractic adjustments can be an effective treatment option for individuals with spinal ligament injuries. By helping to restore proper spinal alignment and reduce tension on the affected ligaments, chiropractic management can help to promote healing and reduce pain and discomfort associated with spinal ligament injuries.
Interventional Pain Management: Interventional pain management employs a multidisciplinary slant, the goal of which is to relieve, reduce, or manage pain and improve the motor vehicle injured victim’s overall quality of life through minimally invasive techniques specifically designed to diagnose and treat painful conditions. Interventional pain management also strives to help patients return to everyday activities quickly and without dangerous dependence on oral medications.
The chiropractic physicians and medical doctors of Collision Injury Auto Accident Clinics prefer to provide the best of both chiropractic management and interventional pain management protocols delivered in tandem at the same time. This delivery of these multidisciplinary protocols is proving to be very promising for managing spinal ligament injury.
Interventional Pain Management And Spinal Ligament Injury
What can a doctor specializing in interventional pain management do to aid in the recovery from whiplash-related spinal ligament injury? When a person suffers a spinal ligament injury due to a car accident, they should see an interventional pain management doctor. These doctors employ many effective treatments and procedures to alleviate suffering and speed healing. Injuries to the ligaments supporting the Spine, such as those sustained in car accidents, can be treated in several ways by an expert in interventional pain treatment.
Confirm Spinal Ligament Injury Diagnosis
An interventional pain management physician can use various diagnostic tools to help identify the type and extent of a spinal ligament injury. This may include physical exams, imaging tests, and other diagnostic techniques. The physician can develop a customized treatment plan that addresses the patient’s specific needs by accurately diagnosing the injury.
An interventional pain management physician typically utilizes specific spinal injections to address ligament damage in the Spine. Pain and inflammation can be managed using steroid injections or nerve blocks. Another advantage of using these spinal injections is that they are therapeutic and diagnostic. So if the injections decrease pain and inflammation, they confirm the diagnosis of spinal ligament injury. Some other injectibles gaining promise are Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell therapies are examples of regenerative medicine therapies that may be used to speed up the healing process.
Please note that interventional pain management physicians can prescribe oral medications to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with spinal ligament injuries. These may include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants or opioid painkillers. They prefer not to rely on these habit-forming and dangerous prescriptions and lean toward precisely placed spinal injections.
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