Did you know that whiplash injuries can occur even during low-speed collisions? Some researchers estimate that of the neck injuries resulting from auto accidents, nearly 85% occurred during low-speed collisions — those taking place under 20 mph. A whiplash chiropractor can likely attest to this fact, and they have probably seen patients with neck injuries who are involved in only minor fender-benders, those with no real damage to the vehicles.
Regardless of the speed of your car crash, a whiplash injury can lead to severe complications. If left unattended, the injury can evolve, resulting in very serious ailments and long-term health problems, can include migraines, pervasive back, and neck pain, etc.
Chiropractic care is an excellent treatment option for whiplash. The cervical spine and the musculoskeletal system are areas of expertise for chiropractors, especially those specializing in the treatment of car accident injuries.
Understanding Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash is not like other injuries, as any car accident chiropractor can tell you. Initially, a car accident victim will likely feel no pain. However, they might begin to feel stiffness and discomfort over the next several days or weeks.
If the patient does not seek treatment, the symptoms of whiplash can get worse. It is common for muscle soreness to evolve into musculoskeletal discomfort, which can develop into neurological complaints, such as headaches, fatigue, severe pain, and irritability.
Personal injury victims must understand the symptoms and potential risks of untreated whiplash. While the injury is often minor, it can evolve or worsen over time.
Symptoms and Risks
When you see a chiropractor in Queens, NY, they will understand the symptoms of whiplash and can inform you. The signs will typically include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Shoulder pain
- Arm and hand pain
- Lower back pain
- Blurred vision
- Hand or arm numbness
- Ringing in your ears
Some patients might also experience concentration and memory problems accompanied by restlessness and fatigue. Untreated whiplash can also cause mental health problems, such as depression.
The key to avoiding or mitigating whiplash symptoms can be diagnosis and commitment to therapy. If left untreated, whiplash can lead to health problems like vertebrae misalignment and degenerative disc disease.
The diagnosis of whiplash typically comes down to imaging. While X-rays are standard practice, they do not provide enough information to diagnose soft tissue injuries. However, X-rays do show possible injuries to bones and other tissues, providing necessary information for creating a treatment plan.
A magnetic resonance imaging scan, or MRI, is better for diagnosing whiplash. Using large magnets and a computer, the scan creates detailed digital images of soft tissue structures in the body.
Finally, a computed tomography scan or CT scan is also helpful. The CT scan uses computer technology combined with X-rays to create “sliced” images of the body. These images are highly detailed and can show many internal structures clearly.
Common Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash
After reviewing your imaging, your whiplash chiropractor will determine the best course of treatment. However, your auto accident treatment plan will involve more than your imaging. A doctor of chiropractic will need to consider your medical history, age, overall health, the extent of your injury, and your preference for therapy. After assessing all of these things, a chiropractor can determine the best way to move forward.
That said, there are several options for treating whiplash. Most treatment plans will involve multiple therapeutic techniques, including a mix of the top eight.
1. Spinal Manipulation
A car accident chiropractor typically uses some form of spinal manipulative therapy. The technique requires expertise and targeted pressure to be effective. Using their hands, placed on specific areas of the body, a chiropractor will apply direct and measured force in a particular direction in an attempt to realign the spine.
A whiplash injury can result in spinal misalignment. Therefore, a chiropractor uses chiropractic adjustment to force the spine back into position.
While the technique can sound a bit heavy-handed, it is generally safe when performed by a licensed and certified chiropractor. However, when dealing with neck injuries, such as whiplash, it is best to work with a chiropractic specialist, one specializing in car accidents or impact injuries.
2. Instrument-Assisted Therapy
Patients might believe that a chiropractor in Queens, NY, does not use instruments during therapy, but that is incorrect. Instrument-assisted therapy is a common practice, especially in treating whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries.
3. Muscle Stimulation or Relaxation
In its most basic form, muscle stimulation or relaxation therapy is the process of gently stretching tight or restricted muscles. It is the most popular treatment for whiplash injuries, and it tends to be quite effective.
If gentle stretching does not work, a chiropractor might apply more force to ensure adequate movement. However, the therapeutic method typically insists on a more measured and delicate approach.
This manual approach can also involve targeted massage. The goal is to stimulate muscular response and encourage blood flow to the affected area. Improving circulation can increase the number of nutrients and oxygen to the injury site, helping the body heal.
4. Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are painful or tense areas in the muscles. Trigger point therapy is about identifying those points in the muscles and fascia and releasing them.
A whiplash chiropractor will typically use manual trigger point therapy, which includes manipulations and corrective techniques to improve blood circulation to the trigger zone, stretch taut bands, and release the surrounding fascia. The effectiveness of the therapy relies on the chiropractor’s accuracy.
The more accurate the chiropractor is, the better the results are for the patient. Results can include reduced tension and pain and improved flexibility.
5. McKenzie Exercises
Your chiropractor in Queens, NY, might suggest using the McKenzie Method for treating your whiplash injury. The method consists of mechanical diagnosis and therapy, and it helps to emphasize self-treatment and patient empowerment.
Essentially, the method consists of exercises and stretches that patients can perform at home. The exercises help to improve strength in the injured region, improving flexibility and function.
While there is evidence to support the McKenzie Method, it is best combined with other techniques. Neck exercises may not be enough to resolve cases of severe whiplash, meaning professional and chiropractic intervention may be required.
6. Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue therapy involves manually manipulating muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Through using several techniques, including rapid release therapy (RRT), proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), transverse friction massage (TFM), and active release techniques (ART), the chiropractor or practitioner aims to improve flexibility and balance biomechanical functions. In layman’s terms, soft tissue therapy is the combination of several targeted massage techniques.
Beyond therapeutic techniques, a whiplash chiropractor will also impart wisdom to patients. Doctors of chiropractic will provide lists of home exercises, and they will encourage ergonomic practices and improvements. The chiropractor might even make it a point to assess a patient’s behavior, from sitting and standing to walking and resting. Posture plays a critical role in whiplash recovery.
Importance of Quick Action
An auto accident injury chiropractor is not a miracle worker. To be effective, a doctor of chiropractic needs to see a patient as soon after an injury as possible. The longer a patient waits to seek treatment, the more likely other problems will arise, such as scar tissue and impaired movement.
Early intervention is the best way to ensure the best chance at a full recovery. Many patients avoid therapy because they assume whiplash will heal on its own, which it can. However, more severe cases often require more experienced hands and practiced techniques for effective recoveries, and delays in therapeutic intervention like chiropractic treatment only prolong pain and eventual treatment.
Chiropractic Approach: The Whiplash Chiropractor Difference
Look no further than our offices when looking for a qualified personal injury chiropractor in Queens, NY. We also can refer you to other car accident injury specialists when necessary. With several decades of experience with motor vehicle accidents, you will be hard-pressed to find a whiplash chiropractor with more dedication and expertise than those in our offices. Contact Chiropractic Approach to schedule your initial exam.