Although generally associated with automobile accidents, any impact or blow to the head that causes it to jolt back-and-forth can cause neck strain, otherwise known as whiplash. The abrupt force stretches and often even tears the muscles, tendons and other tissues in the neck. In fact, whiplash is the most common type of injury as a result of an auto collision.
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Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash is characterized by damage or injury to the soft-tissues surrounding the cervical spine with different grades of severity. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, nerves, or a combination of these may be harmed. Injuries to any of these soft-tissues can produce similar symptoms and finding the correct diagnosis for the cause of your symptoms is essential before seeking treatment for any whiplash-associated injuries. The symptoms of this condition include, pain in the neck with decreased range of motion and tightness. The muscles may often feel hard or knotted. Tenderness, pain with normal head movements and headaches are also common whiplash symptoms. These types of headaches are usually felt at the base of the skull and radiate towards the forehead.
The symptoms generally occur immediately after the automobile accident, but occasionally, these can take several hours or even days to develop.
If you have been involved in a car crash, it’s important to take prompt action in order to minimize the recovery time. According to research presented at the World Congress on Neck Pain in Los Angeles, the initial level of pain after a whiplash-related injury as well as psychological factors, such as having positive expectations for getting better, can best predict which individuals will recover quickly from whiplash.
Most cases will resolve in a matter of a few days while others may take weeks or longer to heal. It’s always recommended to seek professional medical attention after experiencing pain and discomfort, but in the meantime, the individual can utilize home remedies to relieve their symptoms while they begin their recovery process.
Cold and Heat Therapy
Applying ice therapy to the affected area can help reduce the pain, inflammation and swelling immediately after the injury. Simply wrap ice in a thin towel or cloth to prevent direct harm to the skin and place it over the injury for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. Only then, after applying ice for 2-3 days, the individual can follow up by applying moist heat to their neck. After the initial swelling has decreased, heat therapy also helps reduce the pain while additionally decreasing stiffness, relieves muscle spasms, and increases blood flow around the affected region.
The use of a neck brace or collar may occasionally be recommended by a doctor to add support to the damaged cervical spine, however, these are not suggested for long-term use as they can weaken the muscles in the neck and inhibit a proper recovery to your neck. Furthermore, over-the-counter painkillers or other drugs can also offer relief from the pain and swelling related to whiplash injuries but these can have side effects and they should only be used if specifically directed to do so by a doctor.
In between self-treating your whiplash symptoms, it’s crucial to seek professional, medical attention for a diagnosis of the level of injury and immediately begin treatment. While the above remedies have been proven to be effective for relieving pain and discomfort associated with whiplash, these are only meant to serve as temporary solutions. Addressing the injury and treating it at the source is the best way to relieve the painful symptoms.
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
Chiropractic treatment is an effective and natural, alternative healthcare option that is frequently used by individuals who’ve been involved in an automobile accident. The chiropractic treatment plan depends largely on the severity of the whiplash injury. The most common chiropractic techniques are spinal adjustments and manual manipulations. These techniques will help correct spinal misalignments which may have occurred in the cervical spine, restoring the individual’s original range of motion, alleviate muscle tension and reduce the inflammation around the neck caused by whiplash. In addition to these treatments, a chiropractor may also recommend a series of rehabilitation exercises to increase the strength of the tissues in the neck, speeding up the recovery process.
How Chiropractic Works
Chiropractors look at the whole person when an injury or condition is present, not just at the painful problem by itself. While emphasizing on healing and prevention to promote long-term health, chiropractors view complications uniquely to each patient in order to determine the best appropriate treatment to ease the symptoms, ultimately helping them recover from their injuries as quickly as possible and maintain overall health in the future.
For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Finding Strength with Physical Training & Chiropractic: A Client’s Story
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Dr. Alex Jimenez’s clinic and PUSH-as-Rx ®™ system is leading the field with laser focus supporting our youth sport programs. The PUSH-as-Rx ®™ System is a sport specific athletic program designed by a strength-agility coach and physiology doctor with a combined 40 years of experience working with extreme athletes. At its core, the program is the multidisciplinary study of reactive agility, body mechanics and extreme motion dynamics. Through continuous and detailed assessments of the athletes in motion and while under direct supervised stress loads, a clear quantitative picture of body dynamics emerges. Exposure to the biomechanical vulnerabilities are presented to our team. Immediately, we adjust our methods for our athletes in order to optimize performance. This highly adaptive system with continual dynamic adjustments has helped many of our athletes come back faster, stronger, and ready post injury while safely minimizing recovery times. Results demonstrate clear improved agility, speed, decreased reaction time with greatly improved postural-torque mechanics. PUSH-as-Rx ®™ offers specialized extreme performance enhancements to our athletes no matter the age.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
The information herein on "Recovering from Whiplash Injuries" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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