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Chiropractic-Treatment For Whiplash
By Dr. Heath Gallentine, DC
Have you been involved in a car accident? If so, you may be like many Americans who experience whiplash.
Whiplash is an injury of the neck that is the result of a rapid forward and/or backward motion of the neck during an accident or trauma. This can cause damage to the joints and ligaments of the spinal region in the neck. Even the intervertebral discs can be damaged. This causes tissue swelling and inflammation and can also cause microscopic hemorrhage in those tissues. The response of the nervous system to trauma, and the injury to deeper tissue of the spine can result in restriction or fixation of the spinal joints. Because of this trauma, one can experience many symptoms such as:
• Neck pain
• Neck muscle soreness/spasm
• Decreased range-of-motion in the neck
• Shoulder pain/muscle soreness
• Blurred vision
• Numbness/tingling in arms and hands
Many times whiplash is underdiagnosed. Also, whiplash is often treated with anti-inflammatories and pain medication. However, these medications only mask the symptoms.
Chiropractic care is a treatment that has gotten extremely positive results in patients with whiplash. A chiropractic approach focuses on a complete picture of the mechanism of this injury. The chiropractic therapy is focused to first mobilize the restricted spinal joints and then initiating spinal adjustments. The chiropractic treatment includes non-force and flexion-distraction techniques. Basically, the spinal joints are the main portion of the spine that is given attention when treating a whiplash. Since spinal manipulation means adjusting the spine, extra care should be observed when doing the treatment. Therefore, the chiropractor will wait until the muscles get stabilized before performing the chiropractic adjustment.
In addition to waiting for the muscle to stabilize, the chiropractor will also deal on how to reduce the inflammation using methods like ultrasound, gentle stretching and manual therapies like muscle stimulation therapy. Another method to reduce the inflammation is by means of cold packs or cold treatments. Massage therapy is also utilized, as it helps to increase circulation to the muscles, which facilitates healing, and it also helps to relax those tightened muscles.
Once the inflammation starts to disappear, the chiropractor will use gentle spinal manipulation in order to make the spinal joints go back to their functional movements that have been restricted due to whiplash. In some patients, non-thrusting and non-forceful methods are important to treat whiplash.
Basically, the goal of chiropractic treatment of whiplash is to optimize motion in the spine, treat the spinal discs, reduce muscle spasms and improved muscular strength. As mentioned, the neck is a very sensitive part of the body since it holds the head as well as supports the cervical vertebrae. The chiropractor will do assessments first before doing the treatment to ensure total safety of the entire procedure.
When undergoing a consultation with the chiropractor, he or she will most likely assess your whole spine instead of focusing only on the cervical vertebrae. This is important since even if there is only one area that is symptomatic, there may be other regions of the spine that have also been affected.
Possible chiropractic treatment plans for whiplash really depends on the diagnosis of the chiropractor. This includes specific spinal manipulation to treat the joints that are affected. Another method is the use of flexion-distraction technique, which uses non-thrusting pressure to treat herniated discs.
Other therapies include the trigger point therapy, where direct pressure is applied on the portion of the neck muscle to relieve tension. A therapeutic massage is also used most of the time to also relieve the neck area from tension.
There are several things that you can do to treat whiplash. There is no one-size-fits-all method to treat whiplash. In fact, each individual case of whiplash is treated differently. There is simply no general rule on how to treat whiplash. A chiropractor knows this that is why he or she does an assessment first before proceeding with treatment.
Chiropractic treatment on whiplash helps patients return to their normal activities quickly without undergoing too much pain. Moreover, chiropractic treatment provides a more holistic and non-invasive approach in treating whiplash. If you have been experiencing a whiplash injury for a long time already, then it is time that you seek help with your chiropractor.
Call us today to take the first step to your recovery!
Lexington Family Chiropractic
131 Prosperous Pl #15
Lexington, KY 40509