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Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is caused by a rapid forward-then-backward motion. Generally the result of trauma, such as a rear-end car accident, whiplash is known to produce acute neck pain, and it often restricts neck movement. And it doesn’t take much to cause whiplash — most rear impact collisions occur between just eight and 12 mph. Considering it generally takes speeds in excess of 12 mph to produce damage on a vehicle, most whiplash injuries occur in car accidents where there was no damage to the cars involved.
Patients with whiplash often experience a variety of other symptoms aside from neck pain, such as pain in the shoulders, arms, upper back and upper chest. Many whiplash victims also report headaches, as well as dizziness, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision and nausea. If you believe you have suffered whiplash, you don’t have to wait it out. Make an appointment with Dynamic Chiros. Our expert chiropractors will work with you to determine the best course of action tailored to your specific needs.
The medical approach to treating whiplash may also be the most dangerous: taking over-the-counter or prescription pain medication to relieve the symptoms while waiting for the body to heal itself. Aside from the dangers of medication and potential addiction, there’s no guarantee that the whiplash will resolve itself, as it often can become chronic, lasting for years on end.
Chiropractors take a much more involved approach when it comes to treating whiplash. They don’t just treat the symptoms (i.e., pain); rather, they work with their patients to put them on a path to recovery that will enable them to return to their normal lifestyle. After completing a verbal and physical examination, the chiropractic approach has a few different segments to it.
Also known as spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustments are a technique used by chiropractors where a quick force is applied to the spine in the affected area, though occasionally a doctor of chiropractic will use a slow, mobilizing movement. Its purpose is to return the spine to its correct position, helping to take pressure off the injured area and jump starting the body’s natural healing process.
As the muscles are where the pain comes from, it only makes sense to treat them as well. Your chiropractor will most likely walk you through a series of stretching exercises where excessive tension or repeated contractions of the injured muscle occur. In the cases of extremely tight muscles, the chiropractor may apply a more intense stretch, and gentle finger pressure techniques may be employed at specific trigger points as a means to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.
McKenzie exercises are commonly used by chiropractors to help treat whiplash — specifically to reduce disc misalignment that often results from such an injury. These simple movements can easily be done at home by the patient once they’ve received proper instructions on how to perform them, giving them a more active role in their personal treatment plan.
Diet and Supplementation
A person’s diet often holds the key to reducing the inflammation caused by whiplash, thereby helping the body heal faster and reducing the associated pain and discomfort. Such a diet will emphasize the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, health fats and lean protein, all of which are known to help reduce inflammation. You’ll want to avoid sugar, refined grains, most desserts and processed snack foods, as they can exacerbate inflammation.
Absolutely. Studies have shown that old, chronic whiplash cases can be treated effectively with chiropractic care, and at Dynamic Chiros, we have firsthand experience and success with treating cases such as these. In fact, a recent study published by European medical doctors concluded that chiropractic care is the only proven treatment for chronic whiplash (a copy of which we’d be happy to provide — just ask!).
Just as all people are different, the same can be said of whiplash injuries. As such, a patient’s personal treatment plan may include all of the above, or just portions. A chiropractor may decide a spinal adjustment isn’t the right approach due to the severity of the injury, or they may understand that a patient’s specific whiplash won’t benefit from McKenzie Exercises. At Dynamic Chiros, we take the time to understand a patient’s personal physicality and the specific nature of their injury in order to determine a precise course of corrective action.
If you feel you may have sustained whiplash, don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up a consultation. With our expertise, we’ll be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and put you on a customized path toward recovery.