Whiplash injury is a collective term used to describe the symptoms that occur as a result of damage to the neck caused by certain accidents. The injury sustained in whiplash can extend from the intervertebral discs and ligaments to the neck muscles and the nerve roots.
The most common cause of a whiplash injury is a rear-end collision. This occurs when the head jerks from backward to forward from the force of the collision. Whiplash can also happen due to sports injuries, assaults, or falls.
The symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for about 24 hours following the accident. In general, people who experienced neck injury from whiplash develop the following within a few days after the initial trauma:
The licensed specialist will perform thorough physical tests in order to diagnose whiplash. In addition, they may suggest that the patient undergo a CT scan and X-ray to ensure that there are no underlying problems or complications causing the symptoms.
Rest: While it is necessary to keep the neck mobile to prevent joint and muscle stiffness, taking rest is also crucial for recovery. If a certain movement causes pain in the neck region, limit or avoid that movement until healing occurs.
Ice or heat: Alternating warm and cold compress can aid in healing and relieving pain. Ice prevents further inflammation while heat promotes increased blood flow that helps speed up healing. Apply a warm compress for 20 minutes twice a day and a cold compress for 20 minutes twice a day for the first three days following the injury.
Medications: Over-the-counter medications such as Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory helps in reducing the pain sensation and inflammation. Take it as necessary or according to your physician’s advice.
One of the most effective treatments for whiplash injury is chiropractic care. The chiropractor will check the whole spine and evaluate for any restricted joint motion, intervertebral disc injury, muscle spasm, and ligament injury. This assessment may use a technique such as motion and static palpation - diagnosis through touch.
The treatment will depend on the severity of the whiplash injury and if there are any underlying conditions. The most common chiropractic procedure involves the manual manipulation of the spine. These are some of the most common techniques used for spinal manipulation.
Flexion-distraction: This technique involves a hands-on approach with gentle and non-thrusting movement that also helps treat herniated discs. Instead of applying direct force to the spine, the chiropractor will use a slow pumping action on the discs if a bulge is suspected.
Instrument-assisted manipulation: This is another technique that uses a non-thrusting approach with the use of a specialized hand-held instrument. The chiropractor will apply force without thrusting into the spine to alleviate pressure on the muscles and nerves.
Specific spinal manipulation: This technique involves gentle manipulation that helps stretch the soft tissue and stimulates the nervous system by restoring the normal motion of the spine. This technique is useful particularly for subluxations, joints that have restricted motion or show abnormal movement.
Our chiropractors at Belden Village Chiropractic and Wellness Center have been treating whiplash injuries and other neck injuries for years now. If you have recently experienced a whiplash injury, schedule an appointment with us today to begin your treatment plan.