Have you noticed a stiffness or pain in your neck muscles, an inability to move your head, or even tenderness radiating downwards to your arms from your shoulders? What sensation goes down your arms like tingling or numbness, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, memory loss, and maybe some ringing in your ears? If you do, think back when you start noticing these symptoms. Did it follow a series of events that followed an accident or a trauma, may it be from an accident or sports activity, or something else. Chiropractic treatment can help relieve these kinds of conditions
Diagnosis, Examination, and Evaluation
The pain you experience could be from a car accident whiplash injury. Treatment for Car accidents that causes Whiplash Injury starts with a referral from your general physician to a chiropractor. You will first be examined and evaluated by the chiropractor before the specific Chiropractic Whiplash Care starts. You will be asked to recount the events leading to the injury or to the time you have noticed the symptoms. There may also be additional tests needed in this examination to definitively determine if you need treatment. The doctor might require some imaging done to simply rule out other conditions, but whiplash does not normally show itself in these images.
Treating, Managing, and Controlling
Once a diagnosis has been reached, the doctor’s first goal is to control the pain to at least alleviate half of the discomfort you have. We have listed several ways doctors may control your pain:
- Rest and Icy Hot treatment
Isolating the muscle and reducing movement is very important in controlling the pain and reducing the risk of more injury, it would be helpful to wear a brace around the neck to prevent unnecessary movements. Heat is a natural pain reliever and cold stops and prevents swelling in the injured area, alternating the two every 3 hours is always the first step recommended by doctors.
- Regular Pain Medications
Pain medications that are available over the counter can be prescribed for patients to take to help with the pain. Any pain relieving medication that has ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help give relief and control mild pain caused by whiplash.
- Prescription Medications and Muscle Relaxants
For those more intense pain, the doctor might opt to prescribe antidepressants that offer pain relief through numbing the nerves. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed for those tightened muscles to be relaxed and help restore sleep patterns. These medicines are only prescribed for a short period to ensure no damage is caused to the body’s filtration system like the liver and kidneys. If these prescribed medications do not help, the doctor might even look into injections, and these are really helpful especially at the beginning of a physical therapy session.
Chiropractic Care, Pain Control, and Mobility Restoration
Before performing any treatment, the chiropractor will first examine the extent of the trauma and injury and evaluate your spine as a whole. This inspection is very necessary to find areas that could also have been affected by the injury. The area is also checked for restricted movement, joint and ligament injury and swelling, injury to the intervertebral disc, and muscle spasm.
The chiropractor will use his hand to feel for tenderness, stiffness, tightness around your neck and shoulder area, and he will also check how well your spinal joints move by assisting your movements. This is called static palpation, a diagnostic technique that involves touch and motion. Next part of the examination is movement of the other body in relation to the injury, he may ask you to walk, stand, and perform other tasks as he analyzes how you position yourself, your posture, your spinal alignment, and your whole body mechanics.
This will enlighten your chiropractor on how your spine moves your body and if there are any changes after the injury. Chiropractors may also order some imaging and tests to understand the condition before and after the injury, these steps will provide the chiropractor the best track for a personalized approach for treatment in each case.
- Flexion-distraction technique
If you have herniated a disc in your whiplash injury, the chiropractor will use this gentle hands-on technique where he will manipulate your spine without thrusting or pulling. This can be done to any whiplash injury with herniated disc even if arm pain is present or absent. This is a slow pumping action aimed at the discs and not the spine.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation
This is a technique often used by chiropractors because it is also a non-thrusting or pulling action which is also a very gentle approach. In this treatment, the chiropractor uses a hand held tool that allows him to apply force without pushing into the spine. This is particularly helpful to patients who have degenerative joint syndrome like the elderly.
- Specific spinal manipulation
This is the only technique that uses thrusting motion to restore movements to joints that show abnormal motion or are restricted. This technique helps identify spinal joints that need treatment by stretching the soft tissue and stimulating the nervous system which is believed to restore the movement back into the area.
Here are some other treatment techniques that the chiropractor may use to help the injury:
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy
Graston technique is to use an instrument that will gently stroke the soft tissue of the injured area repeatedly.
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques
This is another version of providing therapy to the join and spine area manually or energy therapy.
- Therapeutic massage
Chiropractors may also massage the area affected by your whiplash injury and ease the tension in your neck muscles and shoulders.
- Trigger point therapy
The specific tight, painful points are identified through direct pressure by the fingers of the chiropractor and should alleviate the pressure.
The neck and spine carry a lot of the person’s weight and in treating whiplash injury, it is very important that the chiropractor looks at you as a whole and treats not just the affected area to manage the pain and give you back your mobility.