Whiplash is an injury that impacts the neck muscles. It’s commonly caused by the rapid motion of a car accident or any other event that quickly jerks your head forward and backward. It results in intense neck pain and limited mobility. Thousands of Americans suffer from whiplash and other sudden trauma events every day. These types of injuries can impact your daily life and affect your ability to work.
A Family Chiropractic Clinic sees many patients who’ve suffered from whiplash and other sudden trauma events. We help patients get back to normal as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our number one priority is relieving your neck pain and restoring normalcy.
Diagnosing Whiplash Injuries
If you’re involved in a car accident or other traumatic event, it’s a good idea to first be evaluated at the hospital. If there are no serious external or internal injuries but you still experience significant pain then a chiropractor should be your next stop.
During your appointment your chiropractor will examine your entire spine. It’s important that your chiropractor evaluates your entire spine, even if you only feel pain in one area. They use the information from the exam to identify which areas have restricted motion. They can also identify any disc injuries, muscle spasms, or other injuries.
In addition to examining your spine they’ll test your range of motion. You may be asked to walk, stand, and sit in order for your chiropractor to see how your body has been impacted by the trauma. It’s also common for your chiropractor to take an x-ray or MRI.
The first step in treating whiplash is reducing inflammation in the neck. This is done with physical therapy or other therapies such as ultrasound therapy. Your chiropractor or physical therapist will also recommend gentle stretching techniques to help ease stiffness in your muscles. They may also suggest using an ice pack or a neck support for a period of time.
When the inflammation begins to subside and the pain lessens then your chiropractor can begin gentle spinal adjustments. This will help restore motion to the spinal joints in your neck. The full treatment plan will depend largely on the degree of your whiplash injury.
Common Chiropractic Techniques Used to Treat Whiplash
Spinal manipulation is the most common chiropractic technique for treating whiplash. The flexion-distraction technique is a gentle spinal manipulation that helps with the treatment of herniated discs, which are common in whiplash injuries. Instrument-assisted manipulation uses a hand-held tool to gently adjust the spine without thrusting motions. This treatment option is especially gentle for patients who suffer from degenerative joint syndromes. Your chiropractor may also use specific spinal manipulation. This is a technique used when specific spinal joints are restricted or have abnormal motion. Gentle thrusting techniques restore mobility by stretching soft tissue and restoring normal function and motion.
Chiropractors occasionally use manual therapy to treat any injured ligaments or muscles. These types of therapies include instrument assisted soft tissue therapy that involves gentle, repeating strokes with an instrument over the injured soft tissue. Manual joint stretches along with resistance techniques, therapeutic massage, and trigger point therapy are also great ways to help with soft tissue injuries. These techniques involve using direct pressure on tight, painful areas to relieve muscle tension.
If inflammation is an ongoing concern then your chiropractor may suggest interferential electrical stimulation. This type of therapy involves a low frequency electrical current which helps stimulate your muscles to reduce inflammation. Ultrasound therapy increases blood circulation and decreases muscle spasms as well as stiffness. This type of therapy sends sound waves deep into muscle tissue. The sound waves generate gentle heat which encourages circulation. The increased circulation can help expedite healing.
Chiropractic care goes beyond the initial injury. Your chiropractor will evaluate your entire spine. They view you as a whole person and not just an injury. We treat each patient like an individual. A chiropractor cares about your long term health. They are invested in ensuring that treatment is effective and that your pain doesn’t return. Often times, they’ll recommend additional therapies or exercises to restore your range of motion and strength as you recover from your traumatic injury. These activities and exercises will help you get back to a pain free life. They can even offer guidance about how to prevent or minimize future injuries and help you with any chronic pain issues you may have.
Many people experience increased chronic pain as a result of whiplash and other traumatic injuries. Your chiropractor will help you overcome this pain and find ways to prevent it from reoccurring. They can also help with new issues as they arise. A chiropractor is a great asset to your overall health and well-being.