What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a term often used to describe an injury most commonly caused by a car accident. It may also include other types of injury such as a slip or fall. Whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end car collisions in which the passenger in the front vehicle gets their head forcefully jerked backward and then forward causing injury to the structures of the back and front of the neck. It is very important to get immediate evaluation and x-rays to rule out the possibility of fracture.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that it can take multiple days (usually around two or three) before any whiplash symptoms occur. Common whiplash symptoms include headaches, neck pain, and loss of motion. The reason it can take a few days to feel the symptoms is because it can take time for the inflammation from the tiny tears in the injured ligaments and muscles to build up and further aggravate you. When the delicate ligaments that support your neck are wounded, the muscles react by tightening to guard the injured area. This protects the damaged area from further injury.

A few weeks following this injury, the distressed tissue releases chemicals that attach little cells to the wounded area, called Fibroblasts. They build up, creating a scar-like material called fibrin. Fibrin then helps mend and re-build the injury. During these few weeks of repair, it is extremely important to maintain normal ranges of motion, as well as spinal alignment. If this is not done properly, the scar tissue will end up limiting the future mobility of the injured area. This can lead to spinal degeneration.

Whiplash Treatment

The physical and psychological damage of whiplash can become chronic, eroding a victim’s quality of life. Chiropractic techniques and chiropractors’ skills are particularly well-suited to relieving the neck pain and other debilitating effects of whiplash because they can restore movement lost after the accident, overcome muscle weakness and enhance muscle tone, speed recovery, and diminish chronic symptoms that can persist or recur over many years.

Additional treatment may include diathermy/ heat therapies, physical therapy, spinal exercises and/or stretches. Repeated and effective chiropractic adjustments have proved successful for many thousands of patients. Occasionally, a cervical collar is recommended to help stabilize the neck during the acute phase of care. You may or may not be removed from work for a short period of time. Chiropractic can, in many cases, significantly reduce patients’ distress and allow them to return to their normal activities.

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Be sure to consult The Win Spine Clinic immediately after an accident so you needn’t suffer!

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