Whiplash Injury and Best Treatment
Whiplash injury and best treatment are very important. Approximately 3 million Americans experience a whiplash injury every year. Over a million of those unlucky people will suffer from chronic pain because of their whiplash injury.
When Does Whiplash Injury Occur?
Advances in car safety devices like seat belts, head restraints, and airbags have made it much more likely to survive a car accident. However, it is very difficult to prevent injuries from occurring when 2 (or more) 2,000-pound vehicles collide. While whiplash usually occurs during front or rear-impact car accidents, you can experience one of these injuries at any time. It can be from something as simple as a slip and fall or participating in sports like football, horseback riding, snowboarding, or gymnastics.
A whiplash injury occurs when someone experiences a forceful over-extension of the neck and rapid flexion, like a whip. Unfortunately, whiplash injuries can occur at speeds of less than 12 miles per hour.
While whiplash injuries don’t typically show outward signs like bruising, that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. The effects of a whiplash injury (also called an “acceleration/deceleration injury”) can last for months or even years. In fact, as many as 300,000 whiplash victims will experience disabling pain from their injuries.
Whiplash injuries can damage many of the tissues in the spine (especially the neck), including joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and even nerve roots.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
While symptoms like neck pain and stiffness often occur immediately after an accident, others can take several days to surface.
Other symptoms of Whiplash can include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Radiating symptoms like aching, burning, numbness, or tingling in the shoulders, arms, or hands
- Shoulder or back pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes, including nervousness, irritability, or even depression
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries can worsen without treatment. In fact, getting evaluated as soon as possible by a healthcare provider specializing in these types of injuries is very important. Injuries to connective tissue like ligaments, tendons, and capsules (which hold the spine together) are easily injured and require immediate treatment to prevent chronic problems. The neck is especially susceptible to injury as the lap and shoulder harnesses in cars and trucks protect the neck.
How Soon Should You Get Treated for Whiplash?
During the first 24 hours after your accident, cold therapy like ice or a cold gel pack can help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Next, schedule an appointment with a whiplash specialist as soon as possible to have your injuries evaluated and treated, if necessary.
There are many different forms of treatment available for whiplash injuries. Below are just a few:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Pain medication
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Dry Needling
- Low-level laser therapy
- Acupuncture treatment
- Cervical collar for neck support
- Range of motion exercises
- Physical therapy
- Cervical traction
Chiropractic Adjustments for Whiplash
The primary whiplash treatment chiropractors provide for whiplash injuries is the chiropractic adjustment. This involves gently moving the injured joints in the spine by applying pressure to the vertebra. The pressure applied (called a thrust) mobilizes the joint, relieving inflammation, reducing muscle spasms, and relieving pain. Most importantly, by restoring motion to the injured area, the body can heal more quickly and is less likely to develop scar tissue that can cause chronic pain.
If the muscles are tight or spasmed, other treatments can be used to provide relief. These include electric muscle stimulation, cold laser, stretching, and soft tissue work that helps break up scar tissue that forms after an injury.
Whiplash Injury and Best Treatment
If you’ve been in a car accident, be sure to choose an experienced whiplash doctor to evaluate your injuries, and DON’T ignore the early signs of a whiplash injury. Our office is conveniently located for patients in Arvada, Denver, and Wheat Ridge, Colorado! Call our office today at (303) 424-7171 or schedule a free consultation online. Still not sure? Check out some of our 5-Star Google reviews and see what our happy, healthy, pain-free patients have to say about whiplash injury and treatment!