3 steps to correct your neck curve after an auto accident

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After a car accident, your neck may have become straightened, what is known as a hypolordosis. Unfortunately, many medical doctors, therapists and chiropractors do not address this issue. This leads to chronic neck pain and headaches and eventually arthritis. Here are 3 easy exercises to restore your neck curve at home.

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  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Neck Exercises for Car Accident Victims 3 Steps to a Healthier Neck

    DR BARRY L. MARKS CHIROPRACTOR AUTHOR LECTURER

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Neck Exercises for Car Accident Victims 3 Steps to a Healthier Neck

    2012 Dr. Barry L. Marks, DC All rights reserved

    No part of this book may be reproduced, stored or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording

    or otherwise without the expressed written permission from the author.

    Credits:

    Photography Dr Barry Marks

    Model

    Michelle Wichlac

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Table of Contents What Happens to Your Neck in a Car Crash? ................................................... 4 What is Normal?......................................................................................... 5 How Do I get My Neck Back to Normal? ....................................................... 6 Exercise 1: Head Translation.......................................................................... 7 Exercise 2: Neck Extension ............................................................................ 8 Exercise 3: Gravity Traction ........................................................................... 8 About Dr. Marks ........................................................................................... 9 Questions for Dr. Marks: ............................................................................. 10

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    What Happens to Your Neck in a Car Crash? At the moment of impact in a typical rear-end collision, your head remains momentarily still while your body is forced forward. This instantaneous separation of the movement of your torso and head causes the neck shape to be deformed injuring muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, joint surfaces, nerves and even your brain. This all occurs before you are even conscious of the collision. By the time you realized you were hit, your spine as already been damaged! The degree of spine damage depends on many factors including your age, gender, body type, vehicle type, seat and head restraint type, your position at impact, previous accidents, and more. Interestingly, vehicle damage has been repeatedly shown NOT to be a good predictor of bodily injury. One of the most reliable factors of injury are your symptoms and how soon after the collision they show up and your x-ray findings. Much research has gone into determining the long-term outlook of crash victims and how to predict whether you will recover from your injuries or not. The presence of an abnormal neck curve on x-rays after a collision is a key factor in your prognosis. Medical researchers have found that if your neck is damaged it will change its shape which is readily measurable on x-ray examination. How far from normal your neck curve has deviated determines how badly you are injured and how difficult it may be to return your neck to normal. Consider the pictures belowon the left is a normal curve that resembles a backwards C. On the right is an S shaped curve due to whiplash.

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    What is Normal? A normal C shaped neck curve measures between 30 and 40 degrees. There is some debate about whether or not the higher number, 40 is a steadfast norm. I believe, if you are between those numbers that is a good place to be. Lets compare a normal neck, Figure 1 and an abnormal neck in Figure 2:

    You may have noticed that the patient is facing to the left instead of to the right as in the pictures previously, but you should also note that Fig. 1 has a nice deep curve, while Fig. 2 is very straight. This is a classic example of what is called a hypolordosis or decreased curve of the neck. What you need to understand is that after your initial treatment that is designed to reduce pain by quelling inflammation and spasm, it is highly probable that your neck will still be misshaped like this. Unfortunately, doctors who do not know about or do not understand the importance of fully rehabilitating a neck after an accident, treat many crash victims. So once your pain is reduced, these doctors will unceremoniously release you from care without taking a second set of x-rays to measure your curve. You will be released with less pain, but your neck is still damaged inside and will eventually become painful again. Worse, is that later you will suffer deterioration of your neck joints and have early osteoarthritis. Medical research indicates a 600% increase in risk for early

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    arthritis in victims with persistently reduced neck curve after a crash. As you can see, it is very important for your long-term health to correct your neck as much as possible. Right about now, youre probably thinking

    How Do I get My Neck Back to Normal? We will assume for the sake of simplicity that you have concluded your Initial Relief Care treatment in this office. This treatment has probably taken you anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Your pain now should be about 70% better than when you were first injured. It is now time for the second phase of care, which is called Spinal Rehabilitation care. The two parts to Spinal Rehabilitation Care are:

    1. In office visits at roughly twice each week for approximately 4-12 weeks 2. At home care daily, 7 days a week until curve returns to normal

    Your in office visits will consist of:

    Various forms of cervical (neck) traction that depends on how severe your loss of curve is to mold your neck into the proper curvature.

    Isoelectronic muscle rehabilitation also known as Russian Stimulation, to increase muscle strength in the back or your neck and shoulders.

    Myofascial release (stretching, deep muscle massage, etc) to remove muscle tension

    Chiropractic spinal adjustments to maintain proper joint alignment and freedom of movement to allow your neck to be curved.

    Your homework will include:

    General stretching of the neck and upper back that you were assigned in Initial Relief Care to loosen the muscles followed by

    Head translation exercise to improve upper neck motion and stability Neck extension exercise to strengthen the neck Gravity traction to stretch the muscles in the front of the neck and mold

    the neck into the proper curvature. Ice pack to relieve inflammation caused by exercise

    On the following pages are the specific exercises to be completed as homework.

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Exercise 1: Head Translation Stand or sit in a comfortable position. See figure 1. Imagine your chin being pushed backward, while your neck stays stationary. You should feel increased tension in the upper neck region as your head slides backwards. See figure 2. Hold position for 20 seconds Return to normal position, figure 1. Now stick chin outward while neck remains still and hold for 20 seconds. See figure 3. Repeat movement from position 2 to position 3, 10 times.

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Exercise 2: Neck Extension Lie face down on your bed or the floor. Keeping your chest and shoulders down, lift your head up and attempt to look at the ceiling. Hold position for 10-20 seconds depending on your strength. Lower your head, then repeat 10 times.

    *Note: you may not be able to lift your head very high at first. Thats all right. Continue to lift as much as you can.

    Exercise 3: Gravity Traction oll up a bath towel into a 4 roll, or you may use a hard foam roll, and place it n the end of your bed.

    bed. Hold for 5 min/day for week one, then 10 min/day in week o, increasing to 20 min each day.

    Ro Lie on your back with your neck over the roll while your head hangs down over the edge of the tw

  • Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Specialist 1745 W ORANGEWOOD AVE, SUITE 114 ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92868 (714) 938-0575 | INFO@DRMARKS.COM | WWW.DRBARRYMARKS.COM

    Follow the exercises with an ice pack for 10-12 minutes. Always remember to place a paper towel between a chemical/plastic ice pack and your skin and do not exceed 12 minutes. Perform these exercises daily until your x-rays show a normal curvature. These exercises are also a great way to relieve stress and tension that may build up throughout the day due to reading, computer and telephone use, etc. If you experience increased pain, headaches, dizziness or any other symptoms, discontinue the exercise at once and inform your doctor. You may need to have the exercises modified or replaced. It is my sincere hope that you wi