Whiplash refers to an injury that affects the muscles, tendons, or other soft tissues in the neck. It occurs when the head undergoes a sudden and forceful movement in one direction, followed by a quick movement back in the opposite direction. This type of injury is most commonly associated with car accidents.
When the neck is forcefully moved beyond its normal range of motion, the soft tissues, including tendons, muscles, and ligaments, can become overstretched or sprained. This leads to pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders, and it may also result in back pain. Whiplash injuries primarily occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents, particularly when the neck undergoes rapid acceleration and deceleration due to a rear end or side impact collision.
Furthermore, whiplash can also be caused by sudden blows to the head experienced during contact sports like rugby or boxing. Additionally, incidents such as being struck on the head by a heavy object, slipping and falling, or experiencing sudden jolts or jerks to the head can also lead to whiplash injuries.
Symptoms of whiplash injury
Sometimes you can have no symptoms after a whiplash injury, but sometimes your symptoms can be severe. Pain from a whiplash injury often begins 6 to 12 hours after the injury. You may just feel uncomfortable on the day of the injury or accident and find that your pain, swelling and bruising increase over the following days.
Common symptoms include, neck problems such as pain, stiffness and swelling. Headaches, dizziness and tinnitus. Muscle spasms and weakness. Difficulties in swallowing and seeing because of blurred vision.
It is likely that your symptoms will significantly improve or disappear within a few days to weeks following a whiplash injury. However, it is important to note that complete resolution of symptoms may take longer, and in some cases, individuals may continue to experience residual pain and neck stiffness for several months after the initial injury.
Chiropractic is a suitable therapy for those suffering from injuries caused by a car accident, such as whiplash, and even the emotional stress and anxiety related to the accident. Chiropractic treatment helps to relieve the neck pain associated with whiplash, by realigning your spine and improving the movement in your neck.
Treating a whiplash injury promptly with chiropractic care helps to prevent any long-term problems from developing, such as chronic pain, arthritis, migraines and headaches. Chiropractic treatments will also reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and speed up any healing time after sustaining a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injuries should be addressed promptly by a chiropractor who can effectively alleviate pain and stiffness while gradually enhancing the range of motion. Chiropractic medicine focuses on precise spinal adjustments and controlled manipulations that aim to alleviate pain, rather than cause it. There are approximately 150 chiropractic techniques available, and a chiropractor will tailor a treatment plan specifically for your needs, utilizing some of these techniques. Additionally, chiropractors may employ specially designed treatment tables and devices to effectively treat your whiplash injuries.
Some of the treatment approaches commonly used for whiplash include:
Spinal decompression: This technique involves gentle stretches to the spine, which can help release tight neck muscles associated with whiplash.
Spinal adjustment: Controlled and focused spinal manipulations performed by a chiropractor can be beneficial in treating whiplash.
Massage therapy: Gentle manipulation of soft tissues, such as muscles, can provide relief for lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis.
In addition, a chiropractor may recommend specific stretching and movement exercises to gradually restore your range of motion. These exercises may include rotating your neck in both directions, tilting your head side to side, bending your neck toward your chest, and rolling your shoulders. It is crucial to consult your chiropractor before starting any other exercises to ensure they are appropriate for your condition and to avoid jeopardizing your recovery by overexertion.