What is Whiplash?
One of the most common injuries after a car accident is whiplash, especially if you were hit from behind. One reason why it often goes undiagnosed, is because it might not cause pain until well after the accident occurred.
Whiplash is a strain or sprain of the neck that is the result of a “whiplashing” movement your head and neck underwent during the accident. What happens is the ligaments that support your head and neck become torn, known as a sprain, which causes neck pain. An addition to an injury to the ligaments in your neck, the muscles, and tendons can become stretched beyond their limits, which in turn can cause strain to your neck.
There are also many injuries that can arise from whiplash, including joint dysfunction, disc herniation, chronic pain, and cognitive dysfunction. Each of these injuries are very serious and should be treated immediately. This is why seeking medical attention even for minor neck soreness can make the difference between chronic pain and a healthy recovery.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The most common symptoms of whiplash include pain and stiffness in the neck. This also includes the region just below where the neck connects to the skull, and along the front and back of the neck. This pain may also arise when you just slightly turn your neck. Another common symptom of whiplash is headaches as well as pain in the upper back and shoulders. As mentioned above, there may also be no pain associated with whiplash, but this does not mean no serious injuries were sustained. Any irregularities in the range of motion in your neck or minor numbness should be looked at by a medical professional.
Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash
The goal after a car wreck is to ensure your body feels as it did before the wreck. In order to achieve this, you should seek medical attention from a chiropractor to ensure your body is functioning properly, even if you don’t feel any immediate pain.
Chiropractic treatment for whiplash is unique to each patient, since whiplash affects each person differently. The treatment will begin with a full body examination to detect any injuries resulting from the whiplash, as well as a medical history report to ensure there aren’t any overlapping injuries that go undetected. Once all of your underlying injuries have been discovered, the chiropractor will develop a treatment plan unique to your physical needs.
The most common treatment you will receive is spinal manipulation to ensure your spinal system is in line and functioning properly. When our spines are misaligned they can create pain and numbness throughout our entire bodies. This is because our entire body’s mechanics run through our spinal system. An injury to your neck can lead to pain in your shoulders and arms, while lower back injuries can cause pain and numbness in your legs.
In order to realign the spinal system, a chiropractor will apply a controlled force to areas of your neck and spine to realign your spinal system and alleviate pain and underlying injuries. Other treatments may include heat and ice therapy, massage therapy, and therapeutic exercises that are done at home.
If you are in a car accident, don’t leave your long-term health to chance. Even if you do not feel any immediate pain, you may have sustained underlying injuries that will cause you future health complications. In order to ensure your body is healthy and back to the level it was before the accident, it is recommended to seek medical attention from a chiropractor immediately following any trauma. This will not only help you retain your pre-accident health, but it will also improve your overall health and body mechanics, which can prevent injury and pain in the future.
License: Royalty Free or iStock
License: Royalty Free or iStock
Dr. Marc Browner is a Co-owner and practicing chiropractor at Windmill Health Center in Weston, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.