fbpx Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash Injuries
Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash Injuries

How Chiropractic Care Can Treat Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is a non-medical term describing a range of injuries caused by a person’s head moving backward and forwards with great force due to rapid acceleration and deceleration. The “whip-like” motion exerted on the neck can cause mild to severe injuries that compromise the structural integrity of the intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. As a result sufferers can experience acute, short-term pain or prolonged chronic pain that is often associated with a misdiagnosis or lack of treatment within the early stages of injury. Experts estimate that 3 million Americans suffer from whiplash each year, and of those cases 50% progress to some degree of chronic pain

Who is Susceptible to Whiplash Injuries?

Although most people associate whiplash with rear-end car collisions, there are several other causes including: roller coasters, contact sports, horseback riding, cycling accidents, physical abuse, and falls in which the head violently jerks backwards. In addition, gender, age, and prior injury can predispose a person to a whiplash injury. Many studies show that women are twice as likely to experience whiplash when involved in a crash, and those with osteoporosis, arthritis, or past neck injuries are also more susceptible.

Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash Injuries

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash injuries can vary greatly in terms of onset and severity, but some common symptoms are as follows:

  • A loss or reduction in ability to move the neck
  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Pain in arms and hands
  • Muscle spasm
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred or altered vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Numbness/pins and needles in arms and hands

It is worth noting that neck injuries can worsen without treatment and that symptoms from whiplash may not appear immediately after the incidence. To assure that you prevent further damage and the potential of chronic neck pain, it is important to seek professional help after sustaining any type of neck injury. Make an appointment with a chiropractor near you to obtain a proper diagnosis so that you can alleviate your discomfort and return to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash Injuries

In the acute phase of whiplash, from onset to 3 months, a chiropractic doctor will focus on reducing inflammation of the neck’s soft tissues through gentle stretching, manual therapy techniques, and the application of cryotherapy (ice). As your neck becomes less inflamed and the pain decreases they may apply heat to loosen and relax the musculature so they can perform gentle spinal manipulations. The goal is to correct any cervical misalignments that may have resulted from hyperextension and hyperflexion during the whiplash event so that you can experience full recovery. 

Unlike many injuries, rest is NOT recommended for victims of whiplash as it may cause the muscles to weaken as does the prolonged use of collars. A chiropractor can help you safely and gradually reintroduce activity into your everyday life. 

If you are experiencing chronic neck pain, aka longer than 3 months, from a whiplash injury a chiropractor can customize your treatment plan in a way that promotes healing. Through the use of manual spinal adjustments, traction, and stretching they can help alleviate pain and restore function.

Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash Injuries

If you suspect you’ve experienced a whiplash injury, either recently or within your past, and you are experiencing neck pain, the most important thing to do is to seek a reputable healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Chiropractors are skilled at identifying the underlying causes of your neck pain through palpation, range of motion testing, the analysis of diagnostic images, and collaboration with other healthcare providers. Research studies have shown that chiropractic care is a safe, effective, and drug-free option to treating whiplash injuries and preventing the patient’s symptoms from becoming chronic. Find a chiropractor near you to feel better and begin healing from your trauma.