A soft tissue injury focused in the neck area that is generally caused by a rapid extension and flexion of the neck is usually called whiplash. This is a back-and-forth movement – often occurring in a car accident – that resembles the cracking of a whip and is sometimes referred to as a neck sprain or neck strain. Chronic and acute pain in the neck muscles can be the result of this injury, and it is common for those with whiplash to alter their body posture and restrict their movements to avoid further pain or damage after an incident. Chiropractic treatment options are available for these individuals.
People Who Deal with Whiplash
Approximately three million individuals each year deal with whiplash injuries in the United States. According to a study conducted by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, approximately 45% of people who deal with chronic neck pain blame this discomfort and pain on a past motor vehicle crash. Car accidents usually receive the most attention for causing whiplash, but individuals can suffer from the condition after experiencing a fall, physical abuse, a sports accident, or another form of head or neck trauma. Age has an impact on those who have an increased risk for whiplash, with children only having two-thirds of the risk adults would have in similar situations.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Though it occurs to the neck, whiplash can create injuries that extend to the spinal discs and joints, cervical muscles, ligaments, and nerve roots. Pain may occur immediately after the accident, or it could take several days before symptoms and pain are detected. Common symptoms include:
- Shoulder or back pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- Ligament or muscle injuries
- Tingling, numbing or abnormal sensations in the shoulders, hands or arms
Treatment Through a Whiplash Chiropractor
Individuals plagued by whiplash symptoms who have experienced some form of trauma or injury to the head or neck can see a chiropractor for whiplash. A chiropractor conducts a thorough evaluation of the spine, even if you are only experiencing neck pain. There is always the possibility that the trauma or accident you experienced could have impacted areas other than the neck, and spinal injuries can compound conditions of whiplash. The assessment of the neck and spine usually looks for muscle spasms, intervertebral disc injuries, restricted joint motion, or ligament injuries.
Feeling for tightness and tenderness is generally a part of a thorough evaluation, in addition to taking X-rays, ordering an MRI, or using motion and static palpation to identify concerns. An analysis of your range of motion with neck, spine, and upper body movements will help identify overall spine alignment and posture, showing the chiropractor a more comprehensive view of the extent of damage done by whiplash.
There are different types of chiropractic whiplash treatment a doctor may employ:
A chiropractor can address concerns with muscle dysfunction or tension and treat injured soft tissues through stretching or stimulation. A chiropractor can use a finger pressure technique along certain pressure points to relieve pain generated by tightened or contracted muscles. Our whiplash doctor may also use different stretching techniques to soften and loosen the muscles. Therapeutic massage could help ease tension in the neck, and instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy may be applied to the injured area as necessary.
Spinal Manipulation Techniques
Our chiropractors may rely on a number of treatment techniques, with the severity of the injury guiding treatment. The flexion-distraction technique is non-thrusting, gentle spinal manipulation that can help with an aggravated herniated or bulging disc. This does not put direct force on the spine. With instrument-assisted manipulation, the chiropractor for whiplash treatment may use a hand-held instrument that applies force to the spine without thrusting into the spine. In specific spine manipulation, the chiropractor helps restore motion to spinal joints displaying abnormal, slow or restricted motion. This thrusting technique stimulates the nervous systems and stretches surrounding soft tissue.
Support for Whole Body Care
In addition to specific bone or muscle whiplash treatments, our whiplash doctor may encourage a whole-body care approach to the injury. Resting the injured area, avoiding strenuous activities during the healing process and a healthy, supportive lifestyle may be encouraged to provide a more holistic approach to healing. Chiropractors deliver a unique, patient-centric approach to treatment, combining their deep knowledge of body mechanics and healing with manual or instrument-assisted therapy to restore freedom of movement and minimize discomfort.
Professional Services and Chiropractic Care
There are professional and effective treatments for whiplash pain and discomfort, and visiting a whiplash chiropractor may be the answer you need. The chiropractic care administered by the experienced team at Chiropractic Approach can improve a life of pain, limited mobility, and discomfort from a whiplash injury. Turn to our trusted doctors for help. Schedule your appointment today.