Your neck, when it is in healthy shape, has a slight C-shape curve. Conversely, your upper back has a mildly inverted C-shape. During a rear-end collision, your entire body, including your neck and back, are suddenly and violently, pushed forward and then just as suddenly thrown back. Thus, the term “whiplash.” That rapid back and forth movement, referred to as “hyperextension” and “hyperflexion” by a chiropractor, is damaging because, even though there is some flexibility in your neck and back, it is not enough to withstand even a mild rear-end collision.
X-rays can sometimes tell the story of what happened to your neck after an accident. Instead of that natural C-shaped cervical curve, the chiropractor will see a neck that no longer has a natural curve. It may have a slight S-shape or hardly any curvature at all.