Whiplash is more than just a pain in the neck.
Also called neck sprain or neck strain, whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. This is due to the sudden back and forth motion of a trauma like a car accident.
Just about two-thirds of people involved in motor vehicle accidents will develop symptoms of whiplash.
However, whiplash symptoms usually take a few hours or days after the injury to show up.
Although very prevalent in car accidents, whiplash can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other traumas to the neck.
If you have been involved in an accident, especially a car accident, you should seek medical attention from a local whiplash injury chiropractor to ensure you don't have whiplash.
Even if you feel fine immediately after the accident, your whiplash symptoms could be lying dormant.
The sooner you are checked out, the better chance you have of a full recovery.
In the article below, we will discuss whiplash and why it is more than just a pain in the neck.
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Patients who have suffered a whiplash will likely complain of pain and stiffness in the neck.
The pain can extend into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest.
Most people with whiplash will also suffer from headaches, usually at the base of the skull.
It's estimated that 45% to 85% of people who suffer a whiplash injury still have the symptoms five years after the accident, making prompt medical attention even more critical.
To diagnose your whiplash, your chiropractor will inquire about your injury and review your medical history.
If you were in a car accident, for example, your chiropractor will ask probing questions like where the impact was, if you were moving at the time, and if you were wearing a seatbelt.
Your chiropractor will ask similar questions if you were in a sports-related accident.
Pre-existing conditions, like arthritis, may increase the whiplash's severity, so your chiropractor needs to know about them.
Your chiropractor will also perform an in-depth physical exam, with a concentration on your neuromusculoskeletal system.
For some whiplash injuries, advanced imaging may be necessary to make a proper diagnosis.
Cervical CT scans may be ordered if your chiropractor suspects cervical spine trauma, such as a vertebral fracture.
A cervical CT scan may also be ordered if you have severe pain with neurological deficits.
A cervical MRI is usually ordered if you have neck pain complaints with radicular symptoms, such as a tingling sensation radiating down the arms.
An essential part of your whiplash treatment should be to remain active unless immobilization is necessary due to serious injury.
Some patients may need a cervical foam collar during the first few days following the incident if the cervical trauma is severe, but they usually aren't recommended.
If you visit your chiropractor immediately after the whiplash injury, your chiropractor will apply an ice compress to the injured area for about 10 minutes periodically.
Ice compresses are generally only needed during the first 48 hours after an injury.
Your chiropractor may also suggest that you avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages immediately following the injury.
Chiropractic adjustments are also extremely beneficial.
Studies have found that chiropractic treatment benefits the vast majority of patients suffering from chronic whiplash syndrome.
Chiropractic care for whiplash can include spinal manipulation, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, and cryotherapy.
Neck adjustments will improve the mobility of the spine, restoring your range of motion, and enhancing the movement of the adjoining muscles.
This will all eventually eliminate the pain, soreness, and stiffness of whiplash, and allow you to turn and tilt your head once again painlessly.
The treatment plan designed by your chiropractor may also include mobilization, massage, or rehabilitative exercises to speed up your recovery process.
Every person is different, and everyone's ability to heal is different, so every treatment plan is individualized.
Once your whiplash injury has been treated, and you've made a full recovery, your chiropractor may recommend regular chiropractor care to make sure your body stays in top shape.
Your chiropractor will also recommend things you can do at home to help with your whiplash.
Things like proper computer and phone ergonomics, range-of-motion exercises, and icing at home all play an essential role in your recovery.
The treatment plan that your chiropractor designs should hold you responsible for helping yourself.
The more you know about home icing, home exercise, and modifying your daily routine, the better your outcome will be.
Contact The Arrowhead Clinic Today
If you have been in an injury and think you might have whiplash, you should see a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Even if you aren't experiencing symptoms immediately following your accident, your chiropractor can determine if you have been injured or not.
The chiropractors at Arrowhead Clinic have been treating car accident injuries like whiplash for nearly 40 years.
If you are in Georgia or South Carolina, your local Arrowhead Clinic can have you on the road to recovery immediately after a whiplash injury.
For your free consultation with Arrowhead Clinic, click the button below.