Chiropractors look at the entire person—not just the painful problem. They view neck pain as unique to each patient, so they don’t just focus on your neck pain. They emphasize prevention as the key to good long-term health. In addition to these treatments, your chiropractor in Salinas may also recommend that you do some form of therapeutic exercise, which can help restore normal motion in your spine and reduce any whiplash symptoms you have been experiencing. Along with evaluating your spine, your chiropractor may order an x-ray or an MRI of your spine to check for any degenerative changes that could have occurred before your whiplash injury. These diagnostic images and the results of your physical and neurological evaluation will be used to help develop the best treatment plan.
How does whiplash occur?
Whiplash is the more common term for an injury called cervical acceleration-deceleration. Whiplash occurs when there is damage to the muscles, ligaments, and even vertebrae of the neck experience rapid hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck. When someone experiences this sudden force, which forces the neck backward then forward, the ligaments and tendons that hold the neck vertebrae in the correct position are injured. The vertebrae to change their position, which irritates the nearby nerve roots. Unfortunately, this can impair the function of the body parts that are managed by these nerves.
Whiplash is very common and is mostly associated with car accidents, though can be caused by various activities, like contact sports, amusement park rides, or erratic dancing like head-banging or break dancing. There are also many different causes that can make a person predisposed to experience a whiplash injury, such as vertebral subluxations, arthritis, and a previous whiplash injury. The symptoms of a whiplash injury vary greatly depending on the severity. Some common symptoms include:
- A loss or drop in being able to move neck
- Neck stiffness and discomfort
- Pain in arms/hands
- Dizziness and/or vertigo
- Blurred or altered vision
- Numbness/pins and needles in arms and hands
What can happen if whiplash goes untreated?
Unfortunately, it is common for people to dismiss whiplash as a minor injury or something that will go away on its own, which is definitely not always the case. If you don’t get proper medical care for whiplash, you are risking the chance of developing serious complications later on. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury, not a bone fracture, which means that it will most likely not to show up clearly on X-rays, MRI scans, or even CT scans. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to not allow a claim for whiplash injuries since they are not considered real injuries or aren’t viewed to be as serious as the injured person is claiming.
Patients who have whiplash injuries treated immediately after an accident experience considerably less long-term effects compared to those who don’t get treatment or lag on getting treatment. Common long-term effects of untreated whiplash include:
- Permanent damage to the vertebrae and nervous system
- Accelerated collapse of the cervical spine.
- Chronic, lasting pain
- Loss of function
The chiropractors at Back Pain, Neck Pain & Headache Relief Center will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and can provide beneficial treatment, which is important when it comes to maintaining long-term health. And contrary to these dismissive (and wrong) claims, moderate to severe whiplash can produce painful and noticeable symptoms that make normal motion virtually impossible. Many patients need pain medication, foam collars, or some form of physical therapy. The adrenaline rush we experience during an emergency situation conceals pain, which means most accident victims are not feeling pain right after an accident occurs. But once several hours or days have passed, the victim may begin to notice symptoms like:
- Neck pain: radiates through the back and upper shoulders; pain usually accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and a reduced range of motion; may also experience headaches or pain at the base of the skull
- Tinnitus: patient hears nonexistent noises, usually sounds like ringing in your ears, but can also be heard as hissing, static, or humming noises.
- Vertigo: a condition that causes a person to feel like they are falling or spinning while they are in a still environment; also causes dizziness or faintness.
It is always a good idea to see a doctor within 3 days of a car accident, even if you don’t think your injuries are serious enough to see a doctor. Delaying medical care can give the insurance company an excuse to deny any sort of coverage. Despite this, it is more important for you to avoid the serious, long-term complications that can develop if an injury — is not diagnosed and treated on time.
How Does Our Salinas Chiropractors Treat Whiplash?
The damage whiplash causes is called a “vertebral subluxation.” It is the source of most discomfort and pain caused by injuries as a result of whiplash. The injury from whiplash happens in the neck and spine, though the pain extends to the head, arms, shoulders, and even your hips and legs. Many people experience recurrent headaches, numbness, and irritation in your hands, and have trouble walking or moving around. Chiropractors at Back Pain, Neck Pain & Headache Relief Center will work on reducing neck inflammation and use a variety of therapy techniques, which usually includes ultrasound. They might do some gentle stretching and physical therapy techniques. and recommend that you apply an ice pack on your neck or wear light neck support for a short period of time. As your neck becomes less inflamed and the pain decreases, your chiropractor will be able to perform gentle spinal manipulation or other chiropractic techniques to help you bring back normal motion to your neck's facet joints.
Chiropractic Whiplash Treatments
Chiropractors will use different techniques to relieve the pain of whiplash and help with healing.
- Chiropractic Adjustment: The chiropractor performs spinal manipulation to gently move the joints into alignment, which helps align the body and encourage healing.
- Muscle Stimulation and Relaxation: This involves stretches the muscles that are affected, relieving tension and helping them to relax. Finger pressure techniques are also commonly combined with the stretching to help relieve pain.
Each whiplash case is different, and each chiropractor has their own personal, special techniques. Chiropractors evaluate their patients to be able to determine what the appropriate treatment will be for that particular case, especially since each different case of whiplash will have different symptoms. The chiropractor will determine the best course of treatment that will relieve your pain and restore your mobility and flexibility. Any accident that causes whiplash can result in the vertebrae moving out of alignment. This can damage and irritate the spinal nerves. Even whiplash from years ago can still affect you if you never saw a chiropractor. Your spine may also still be out of alignment and injury or trauma from years ago may be causing problems that don’t seem connected. If anything, it is important to remember that whiplash should not go ignored. Give Back Pain, Neck Pain & Headache Relief Center a call at (831) 350-6999 today!
The first step to relief from Whiplash is to schedule a free consultation in our office to discuss the specifics of your case.