Whiplash is a neck injury caused by swift back-and-forth movement. Though it is often associated with car accidents, whiplash can be caused by anything that puts such whip-like tension on the cervical spine. If not taken care of properly, cascading problems or chronic pain may persist, but most people with whiplash recover within weeks with treatment plans. For quality care in recovering from whiplash, come see us at Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation.
Rear-impact car accidents are the most commonly cited cause of whiplash. However, it can result from other events, such as sports-related injuries or falling. The impact does not need to be severe. Many vehicular whiplash injuries follow incidents at only five or ten miles per hour. The risk increases with age, especially when other factors like arthritis are in play.
Promptness is key with the threat of whiplash. Do not shrug off mild symptoms, especially if they are delayed. If you have been in an accident—be it car, domestic, or other—we recommend working with a chiropractor in conjunction with other healthcare providers to make sure there are no complications like broken bones. At Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation, we will assess your spine as a whole, checking the range of motion in your spinal joints and feeling for tenderness and tightness in the spine.
The range of symptoms that can develop due to whiplash is broad, and every individual case is different. Even mild symptoms should be managed properly. Here are just a few complications that may arise from whiplash:
Pain. Whiplash-related pain may not manifest immediately, but when it does, it is found in the neck, shoulders, and even the upper back. Pain can range from acute to persistent stiffness.
Limited range of motion. Damage to the muscle or tendons (the bands of tissue connecting muscle to bone) can restrict a whiplash victim’s range of motion. The ability to rock one’s head to either side and back and forth or to look over one’s shoulder can be limited by whiplash.
Muscle spasms. Though not as common, the trauma to one’s muscles caused by whiplash can lead to involuntary spasming.
Headaches. The pressure imposed on the cervical spine by whiplash damage can lead to headaches at the base of the skull.
Fatigue or dizziness. Experiencing whiplash can make a person feel perpetually tired or dizzy.
Neurological problems. In some cases, neurological problems like memory loss, insomnia, trouble focusing, and sudden mood changes can result from whiplash.
Our experienced chiropractors at Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation have an array of techniques and tools to make sure that your whiplash is treated properly. This is a truncated list:
Spinal manipulation. A chiropractor identifies restricted spinal joints and helps restore mobility through a series of massaging and gentle thrusting techniques. The process helps to stimulate the body’s nervous system to restore the spine’s normal function.
Therapeutic massage. Exactly what it sounds like, your chiropractor may affect a therapeutic massage to relieve muscle tension around whiplash damage.
Trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy is a method that alleviates tension in the muscles by applying focused pressure to hypertonic (tight) areas of the muscle.
Interferential electrical stimulation. This technique applies an electrical current of low frequency to stimulate muscles, ultimately reducing inflammation.
Ultrasound. Ultrasound sends sound waves deep into the muscle tissues of a strained area. This can help improve the blood flow around a whiplash injury.
Ice. Applying ice to an injured area can be done at home and can reduce swelling and inflammation.
Neck brace. Use a brace if recommended to do so by your general practitioner.