The Severity of a Whiplash InjuryWhiplash injuries are often the result of:
- Automobile accidents
- Work injuries
- Amusement park rides
Other SymptomsTypical symptoms like neck pain, blurry vision, stiffness, and dizziness are well known. These can range from mild to severe, and last for a few days, weeks, or, in severe cases, years. However, there are some symptoms that most don’t know about and include:
- Consistent pain in the shoulder and upper back
- Delayed-onset headaches
- Trouble sleeping even without pain
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble with memory
Emergency CareIndividuals should be alert for signs/symptoms that the injury requires immediate medical attention. If any of the following are experienced seek immediate care.
- The arms, shoulders, or legs are numb, tingling, and/or weak
- The neck pain and stiffness return after going away
- Bowel or bladder problems could indicate nerve damage
ChiropracticChiropractic treatment depends on the individual case. A doctor of chiropractic will determine the right treatment plan by the:
- The severity of the pain
- Location of the injury
- Accompanying symptoms
- Medical history
Treatment OptionsSome of the more common treatments for whiplash include:
InitialVisiting a chiropractor a short time after the injury means the neck will be inflamed. The doctor will utilize gentle, anti-inflammatory options like:
- Cold therapy
- Electrical therapy
- Laser therapy
Spinal ManipulationThere are different types of spinal manipulation, these include:
Specific ManipulationThis type involves a gentle but firm thrusting, usually done with the hands to the soft tissue areas. It stimulates the nervous system to realign subluxations, and restore mobility/flexibility of the spinal joints and vertebrae.
Flexion Distraction TechniqueThis is also a hands-on technique that treats slipped and bulging discs. This type of treatment utilizes a pumping motion on the disc/s and not the spine itself.
Instrument AssistanceThis treatment is used for patients with degenerative disc disease. Special instrument assistance is often used in combination with hands-on care.
MassageMassage promotes healing, reduces pain, and improves blood circulation in and around the affected area. It helps relieve tension/stress in the shoulder and neck.
Stretching and Trigger Point TherapyThe muscles and tendons can become tight. A chiropractor will gently stretch the area to relieve pain, ease tension, and reduce tension headaches. Trigger point therapy uses persistent pressure by the chiropractor’s fingers. It relaxes and releases the tight areas.
McKenzie ExercisesMcKenzie exercises help reduce disc tears common to these types of injuries. The chiropractor will show how to perform these simple movements at home as part of the recovery.
What to do outside of the clinicA chiropractor will offer tips and guidance on how to successfully avoid worsening the injury or create new injury/s. Stretches and exercises will be recommended to strengthen and maintain flexibility. Depending on an individual’s:
- Overall health
- Lifestyle factors
- They will offer recommendations to avoid long-term issues.
Successfully regaining fitness after an injuryIt is difficult to predict how long it will take to regain a previous level of fitness after an injury. Retraining to peak condition depends on the injury and how much damage was done. A key factor is to not adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Muscle memory can help as the muscles have special cells in the fibers that can recollect previous movements. This means when back to working out after an extended layoff, the body is able to regain the lost muscle. Some tips to help get back into shape:
- Ease back into working out to avoid/worsen the injury
- Wait a month before starting a less-intense version of a regular workout
- Join a group/fitness class or a health exercise group