The term "whiplash" is used to define rapid extension and flexion of the neck that results in damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the head. Whiplash is generally sustained in auto accidents, but can also be sustained in a variety of other ways as it is caused simply when the head moves back and forth in a rapid motion which causes damage to the neck and soft tissue. There are a great variety of ways that whiplash injuries can manifest, which includes:
- Neck Pain
- Upper Back/Shoulder Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- TMJ (Jaw)
- Shoulder Pain
- Arm Pain, Tingling, Numbness (Elbow, Wrist, Hand)
- Reduced Range of Motion
Whiplash usually occurs from car accidents, but it can also be a result of bicycle accidents and anything that involves a quick start or stop in which the muscles do not have time to brace, such as on a roller coaster. And because this type of injury often is associated with a release of adrenaline, a person does not understand the severity of their injury for quite some time to come. There are also a number of factors that determine the severity of whiplash, including the type of event from which the injury occurred, a person’s age, sex, weight, and physical condition, and the time span it takes for the injury to surface as pain. If you have suffered whiplash, we recommend coming in for an appointment so we can tackle the problem head on, before it gets worse.
Headaches from Whiplash
People usually associate whiplash with neck pain, and while this is true, there are a number of other problems that can stem from this injury. Headaches can often occur from whiplash, as the spine has become misaligned and the muscles and ligaments have to do extra work. They pull and create tension, and this causes many people headaches as a result of whiplash. A chiropractor can adjust your spine and back, and relieve the soft tissue that is doing extra work. This can help to ease headaches.
If, prior to the accident, you would suffer with headaches, be conscientious of how the frequency or severity may have changed. These too are potential signs of a new injury.
TMJ is a dysfunction of the jaw, and stands for Temporomandibular Joint. It is not a common problem resulting from whiplash, but when it does happen, the pain can be excruciating and can dramatically affect a person’s life. Sometimes the condition can be associated with a clicking and popping of the jaw, but these sounds may not always occur. A sudden tightening of the jaw can also be how the condition presents itself, commonly associated with pain. Grinding teeth can be another symptom of TMJ. A chiropractor can help to relieve this issue.
Back Pain from Whiplash
When whiplash occurs, there is usually a jarring of the spine that goes along with it. When the spine is misaligned, back pain is often the result as muscles on one side are working to compensate for the other. Chiropractic treatment can fix this problem so that you can get back to your normal self.
Whiplash can cause pain and numbness in other areas of the body, notably the arms. Tingling, numbness, and pain can radiate down the neck from where the whiplash occurred, and affect the elbow, wrist, and hand. Sometimes these issues are mistaken for carpal tunnel if the whiplash is not treated right away. Consult a doctor and consider chiropractic treatment to resolve these issues. We can help.
Whiplash Chiropractic Treatment
Whiplash is a unique condition that requires a skilled professional who is specially trained to treat the injury. A chiropractor is this skilled professional. Chiropractic care utilizes manipulation of the spine to return the spine to proper alignment. When the spine is properly aligned the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck can heal properly. Combined with exercises and even massage therapy this is the most effective form of treatment for whiplash. Whiplash can be very serious and may also require additional medical intervention in severe cases as a way to control and relieve pain. As a Doctor of Chiropractic, we are trained to recognize the need for diagnostics or treatment outside our specialty and will refer out as needed. For a more natural and non-toxic approach to healing, you should still see a chiropractor first in most cases. After all, medication won’t re-align your neck and spine. Chiropractic care is very important in the treatment of whiplash injuries whether they are relatively minor or more severe. If you have suffered whiplash and would like to set up an appointment for chiropractic evaluation give us a call at 612-822-0149!