What is Whiplash?
The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” It also mentions “Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents where the neck quickly goes forward and then backward. But whiplash can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse, and other types of traumas, such as a fall. Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.”
In other words, while the term “whiplash” may be tossed around interchangeably with others, it’s a very specific condition that is caused by a specific movement pattern and force that the body is not meant to sustain.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help Whiplash?
Whiplash is more than just a sore or painful neck condition that some **dishonest** people use to create unfounded lawsuits; it’s a real condition that can be linked to various parts of your body. In addition, it can help point to other underlying issues with the spine resulting from the same traumatic movement. A fellow orthopedic clinic in Atlantasaid it perfectly: “Chiropractors operate with an understanding that the human body is much more interconnected than traditional medicine generally acknowledges.”
We don’t go in looking for evidence of whiplash, we evaluate all of your symptoms and medical history holistically in order to rule out other things first, and evaluate your spine as a whole, which leads to uncovering those underlying issues and a more complex diagnosis than simply “whiplash”. A complete diagnosis, means an opportunity to be completely pain free, or at the very least, as close as possible to it.
Going to a board-certified chiropractor (hi, we’re here for you) can help you understand how whiplash affects you, if it’s what’s causing your pain, and what treatment options are available for you in order to ensure pain free outcomes.
Techniques Used By Chiropractors To Help Whiplash: Spinal Manipulation
Our bread and butter: sometimes spinal misalignments can contribute to whiplash related injuries. Left untreated, these misalignments can linger in the form of pain and tension/tightness. In addition, the longer it is left untreated the larger the long-term impact it will have on the spine by causing extra wear-and-tear on the spinal joints, discs. In some cases, it can even cause additional health problems such as headaches, migraines, etc.
Techniques Used By Chiropractors To Help Whiplash: Manual Soft Tissue Therapy
Sometimes there are soft tissue injuries that have occurred as complications or as a result of whiplash, in which the pain you feel is related to the limited range of motion and weakened state of those tissues. Techniques like myofascial release (Graston/scraping), cupping, light stretching, heat, ice, electrical muscle stimulation, and strengthening are incorporated in order to improve range of motion, strengthen the tissues, and restore normal use of the area and remedy the pain, while also speeding up the healing process (and preventing the injury from getting worse – which will happen if there is a lack of mobility).
Techniques Used By Chiropractors To Help Whiplash: Referral for Inflammation Reduction Therapies
These techniques are aimed at more immediate relief/prepping the tissues to be in a state where we are able to work on them safely and effectively. This is also a kind of treatment that you can perform at home to help manage your pain.
Depending on how recent the whiplash injury was, we encourage the use of ice and/or alternating heat and cold therapy. We also, encourage you to see your primary care physician, who may potentially prescribe the use of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs),if your medical history allows for it, such as naproxen and ibuprofen (brands like Aleve and Advil/Motrin).
Massage therapy can also have a place in reducing inflammation and, as mentioned above, has also shown to help one heal from an injury like whiplash, as it helps promote blood circulation, as well as increase range of motion, thus preventing stiffness and clotting and reducing inflammation in the tissues.
While whiplash is extremely common, as with most injuries and conditions there are varying degrees of severity, and every case is different. The worst thing you can do is self-diagnose and hope the problem resolves itself, as this may not only exasperate your current condition and cause further complications, but it could also leave the underlying cause untreated, and therefore leave you vulnerable to prolonged or permanent pain, or future similar injuries.
In other words, you don’t have to do it alone, that’s what we’re here for. After all, we didn’t spend 8+ years in school and hundreds of hours learning about the human body for nothing, know what I mean?
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