What Actually is Whiplash?
The Causes of Whiplash
One of the most widely known and common reasons why people get whiplash is by being involved in car accidents (especially being rear-ended). With that said, whiplash can be caused by really anything that causes an aggressive jostling of the neck, including:
Physical fights or assault
The Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash can cause an array of symptoms that vary in severity and longevity. Most often, people will experience a specific set of symptoms when they are suffering from whiplash. These symptoms include:
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain in the neck
- Very limited mobility in the neck
- Pain or stiffness in the area surrounding the neck, including the upper back, shoulders, and/or arms
- Headaches on the lower part of the head (usually where it meets the neck)
- Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers
Less-Common (But Possible) Symptoms
The Effects of Whiplash
It’s important when experiencing whiplash not to aggravate the injury, so patients are rarely able to engage in their favorite sports, hobbies, or pastimes. The best way to minimize the impact that these effects will have on your quality of life is to get care for your whiplash as early on as possible.
What Happens Without Whiplash Treatment?
In some cases, whiplash goes away on its own. In others, whiplash will only worsen without the appropriate medical care. Even if the symptoms are getting better, it’s important to see a professional who can rule out any other complications or underlying issues that could very well be occurring due to whiplash. If left untreated for a long time, whiplash can lead to:
Chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, or arms
Loss of mobility
Degenerated discs in the spine
Bouts of dizziness and vertigo
Misalignment in the spine
What if It Happened a Long Time Ago?
When getting treatment for whiplash, the rule of thumb is “the sooner, the better.” With that said, it’s never too late to get treatment to minimize the impact of whiplash on your physical or mental health. Regardless of whether your whiplash started yesterday or a year ago, treatment is always a good choice (especially if it’s the first time you’re getting it for this condition).
Whiplash Treatment Explained
Chiropractic care for whiplash seeks to give you relief from its symptoms by treating their underlying causes. It aims to reinstate mobility and reduce pain by improving circulation to the neck, reducing pressure in the neck’s muscles and nerves, and ensuring that the spine is properly aligned following the incident that caused the whiplash.
Unlike a physical therapist or massage therapist, a chiropractor will use diagnostic images like X-rays or CT scans to see the damage as closely as possible, pinpointing what areas of your neck (and the surrounding parts of the body) need attention.
The Treatment Itself
Manual manipulation, which includes precise bursts of force to specific parts of the body in order to reduce pressure and promote alignment
Spinal decompression, which promotes spinal alignment specifically by reducing pressure on the spine and decompressing its herniated, bulging, or degenerated discs.
Exercise therapy, which promotes strength in the neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
Depending on the severity of your whiplash and the course of treatment that is recommended for your condition, you may switch to less frequent visits to the chiropractor once the bulk of your treatment is completed. These visits may include manual manipulation, or they may just entail exercise or muscle therapy. In any case, long-term check-ins and care help to make sure that you’re where you need to be in your mobility and pain management.
Why Work with a Chiropractor
Chiropractors specialize in the neuromusculoskeletal system, which means their job is to know how your bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments work–and how they impact each other. Their goal is to reduce pain and improve mobility while lowering any dependence on pain medications, promoting healthy alignment in the body so that you can achieve sustainable whole-body health.
The Essential Approach to Whiplash
At Essential ChiroCare, our whiplash treatment places your needs front and center. Whether your whiplash is recent or the underlying cause of years-long chronic pain, our goal is to work with you to come up with a treatment plan that’s tailored to your lifestyle needs. Just as importantly, we sustain your positive outcomes by providing you with the education and tools you need to maintain them.
Ready to explore whiplash treatment and significantly improve your quality of life? Let’s get started. Don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us today.