If you've never been to the chiropractor before, you may have a lot of questions. However, one common question is how a chiropractor can help with whiplash. Luckily, there are many ways your chiropractor can help. If you would like to know more, keep reading.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury that commonly occurs after your head is quickly forced forward and then backward (or vice versa). The sudden movement causes strain on the muscles and ligaments in the neck. In many cases, the neck bends beyond its normal range of motion.
As a result, this can lead to strain and damage to the soft tissue in the neck. If you suffer from whiplash, you may experience neck pain/stiffness, upper back pain/stiffness, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, etc. Given the nature of the injury, the treatment for whiplash can be a long process because you need any damaged tissue to heal and then regain range of motion and strength.
What Are Common Causes of Whiplash?
Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end collisions. Whether someone hits you from behind or you hit someone else from behind, the force is often strong enough to cause extreme and sudden head movement. Some people even hit their heads against the back of the seat, which can cause more injury.
However, whiplash can occur in other instances too. High-impact sports like football could cause whiplash if someone collides with you from behind. Even abuse can lead to whiplash, and it is a common injury in shaken baby syndrome.
How Can the Chiropractor Help?
When you arrive at the chiropractor after an accident, the chiropractor will start with an examination. Depending on the severity of the injury and your pain, they may insist on some imaging tests to make sure there are no broken bones.
Whiplash treatment usually begins with modalities. These include a wide variety of procedures, but some of the most common include massage, electrostimulation, and heat. Electrostimulation is basically a massage given by a machine. The machine sends small electrical signals to muscles to force them to contract and relax, mimicking a massage. This alone can help relieve some pain by allowing the muscles and ligaments to relax a little.
One common problem after whiplash is misaligned joints. Naturally, the misalignment is too small to see, but it can cause major symptoms like strain on ligaments and muscles by pulling them too hard or pulling them in the wrong direction.
When your chiropractor manipulates this area, they move the joints back into place which relieves some of the tension. The chiropractor may also perform traction to better stretch areas of your back. These stretches are small but effective.
Will You Need More Treatment?
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need more treatment after the chiropractor. For minor injuries, your chiropractor can show you simple stretches to do at home to help regain mobility. However, if you've lost strength due to the injury and/or your mobility is severely limited, you may need the assistance of a physical therapist.
With physical therapy and chiropractic care together, you can get back on your feet faster. The chiropractor helps keep everything in line, and the physical therapist ensures you become strong and flexible enough to prevent those joints from moving in the future.
Whiplash can be minor to severe, but even minor whiplash can cause radiating pain and reduced flexibility. Chiropractic treatments can help reduce pain and give you the power to regain your mobility. If you would like to learn more, or if you are ready for a consultation, contact a chiropractor in your area today.