Have Whiplash? Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

A man holds his neck after a car accident while suffering from whiplash.

It’s a very common scenario: You’re driving as a part of your daily routine and unfortunately end up on the receiving end of an automobile accident. You’re alright but you immediately feel a sharp pain in your neck and it just won’t go away, even weeks after the accident.

From the nearly six million automobile collisions that occur in the US every year, most will experience some kind of neck pain. One of the most common conditions from car accidents is whiplash—an injury to the neck muscles caused by a rapid jolt of force.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans experiencing painful and recurring whiplash, it may be time to seek medical care. This article will explain how whiplash chiropractic treatment can help treat and prevent discomfort, and drastically improve your health and quality of life. 

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury of the muscles, joints, ligaments, and discs within the lower and middle neck, and upper back, that is caused by a sudden change in force on your body. This occurs because there is a forward momentum of the body and head wherein the head travels forward more slowly than the body.

These differences in inertia cause the full body weight to move forward and upperwards while the head is essential still. After a delay in when the head catches up to the body’s position, the neck hyperextends the lower neck and aggressively flexes the middle neck due to a motion similar to a whip cracking. This rapid and sudden force can also result in spearing of cartilage by facet joints in the neck as the body travels upwards. Due to this combination of trauma, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues in the neck can be torn.

It’s important to understand that whiplash doesn’t need a high-speed accident to occur. It can occur at surprisingly low-speed collisions because the weight of the body far exceeds the weight of the head and any collision between the two can cause damage.

For example:

  • 5 mph collisions can result in various soft tissue damage 
  • 10-12 mph collisions can cause changes to the structure of the neck and permanent damage to the area

Though whiplash is typically associated with car accidents, it can also come from other traumatic injuries such as a harsh fall or sports accidents. And, while whiplash occurs immediately, symptoms can appear as late as a few days after the initial injury.  

Individuals dealing with whiplash may experience the following symptoms:

  • Neck pain and neck stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness or soreness in the shoulders and upper back
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

The symptoms associated with whiplash may resolve on their own within a few weeks or they could become chronic issues that last for months or even years. It is extremely difficult to predict how long whiplash complications will persist.

For this reason, it’s recommended to seek medical advice for instances of whiplash. Even if you’re experiencing minor pain and few symptoms, long-term spinal damage can still occur due to the excessive force exerted when you were initially injured.

Many people dealing with whiplash symptoms will find long-term or permanent relief from whiplash chiropractic treatment.

Whiplash Chiropractic Treatment

Because chiropractic treatment can identify potentially permanent damage to the spine, it can be a very effective solution for individuals with whiplash. This is because even a minor case of whiplash from a low-speed collision can cause accelerated deterioration of the cartilage—discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine. These symptoms can be further exacerbated if the curve of the spine has been altered which causes abnormal stress on already traumatized parts of your anatomy.

Over time, these abnormalities can mutually reinforce one another, causing the health of the neck and spine to decrease faster than they would normally. Moreover, new research has shown a link between whiplash and declined cognitive function, meaning that seeking care for whiplash could be even more important than previously considered.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of whiplash, chiropractic treatment is likely the best course of action.

  1. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or a visit to the emergency room (depending on severity).
  2. Once cleared, find a chiropractor that takes X-rays and measures spinal alignment.
  3. Get gentle care for short-term relief.
  4. Receive flexion and extension X-rays two weeks after the whiplash to test ligament safety.
  5. If necessary, receive corrective care to restore normal spinal alignment and ensure that you do not develop a permanent impairment.

Whiplash chiropractic treatment will depend on the severity of your injury and symptoms. For example, if the whiplash is minor, has only caused soft tissue damage, and does not require corrective treatment, you will likely receive a lower-impact treatment plan that involves a gentle range of motion and gentle traction/manual pressure.

If a spinal misalignment is identified, you may receive a treatment plan that utilizes the three modalities of chiropractic care:

  • Traction to heal ligaments
  • Neuromuscular education to retrain proper positions for sitting and standing
  • Rehabilitative exercises to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments 

Get Relief from Whiplash with Chiropractic BioPhysics®

While whiplash chiropractic treatment can prove to be a boon for most people dealing with whiplash symptoms, not all treatment plans are created equal. That’s why the team at PostureWorks utilizes Chiropractic BioPhysics® to create the best treatment plan for you.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® begins with an in-depth analysis of your spine to identify any structural irregularities that may have occurred from whiplash. Once your condition is understood, a customized treatment plan is crafted to address your unique needs. Our Chiropractic BioPhysics® techniques combine advanced, non-invasive chiropractic therapy, physiotherapy, and exercise for an extensive treatment plan that not only ensures long-term pain relief but also restores the natural range of motion to your neck.

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique that aims to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. CBP is a conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive way to minimize and/or eliminate back and neck pain. To learn more about whiplash chiropractic treatments or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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