Whiplash: What It Is And What To Do About It

One of the conditions treated most frequently at chiropractic clinics is whiplash. Whiplash occurs all too often due to the high number of motor vehicle accidents today; although, it may happen in other situations as well. Many patients look for a natural way to get pain relief for whiplash, and chiropractic care is often the best way to achieve that. Below, you can read more about what whiplash is - and what you can do about it.

How it Happens

Whiplash can happen in nearly any situation that makes your neck move very quickly forward and then backward. When your neck is forced forward sharply, it will often hit your chest, and then snap backwards as it tries to right itself.

This movement is called hyperextension, and this short movement can cause some serious damage. Usually, the hyperextension that causes whiplash will happen in a collision like a car accident, but it can also occur while riding amusement park rides like roller coasters, or even during sports matches like football games.

Where Damage Occurs

There are several different areas that whiplash can affect. These include the following:

  • The cervical (neck) discs
  • The vertebral (back) discs
  • The muscles that support the spine

Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash can vary considerably, and there may be times that the early symptoms are so subtle that they can be overlooked. However, once whiplash develops fully, it can be as painful as a broken bone. The following symptoms are some things you can watch for after an accident.

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness

Chiropractic Care and Whiplash

The chiropractic approach to whiplash can involve several different things. First, the chiropractor will perform a manual examination of your neck and spine to determine exactly where the damage lies. This may be supplemented by x-ray imaging or other diagnostic imaging if the chiropractor needs to definitively confirm the origin of the injury.

A spinal adjustment will often be the first line of chiropractic treatment. This treatment will involve gentle manipulation of the vertebral and cervical spine. Your chiropractor will look for areas where the spine was thrown into misalignment during the accident and will guide the spine back into place. This will typically provide pain relief fairly quickly.

Sometimes your chiropractor will provide additional treatment in the form of physiotherapy. The main goal of physiotherapy is additional natural pain relief. Methods may include direct heat therapy, cold therapy, and low level electrical muscle stimulation.

If you think you may be suffering from whiplash after an accident or a collision, call your local chiropractor clinic to make an appointment as soon as possible. Whiplash will not get better on its own, so you need to seek help as soon as possible!