Whiplash, simply is an injury to the neck. It is like a sprain or strain but is mainly caused by a forced and rapid back-and-forth neck movement. Being rear-ended in your car is a leading cause of whiplash. Sports injuries, physical abuse, and other injuries also cause it.
Whiplash affects spinal discs, and herniation is a possibility. Damaged nerves, as well as torn ligaments and muscles, accompany the injury. Recovery usually takes a few months. Some people, however, may suffer whiplash-related pain for months and years after the injury.
Symptoms do not necessarily appear immediately after the injury. In some cases, it may take months, and then the condition will be chronic.
Most frequently, stiffness and neck pain are the most noticeable symptoms, although these might develop several days after injury. The pain may range from mild to severe. The neck’s range of motion may be limited. A headache, upper back and shoulder pain, tenderness, numbness, tingling, dizziness, and fatigue are other symptoms which may appear.
In some cases, people have found difficulty in sleeping. Some also report memory and concentration difficulties. Irritability may also be a symptom.
Whiplash treatment varies by patient. Pain relievers such as naproxen or ibuprofen assist some patients. In addition to the pain relievers, people find relief with gentle exercise and massage, heat, ultrasound, and physical therapy.
Chiropractors have a variety of techniques to use in the treatment of whiplash. Different techniques work with different people. Your chiropractor will discuss your injuries with you to develop the best treatment plan.
• Spinal manipulation—this technique is one of the most common techniques in chiropractic treatment. The chiropractor will manipulate the affected parts of the body into the direction of the restriction. This technique can be applied gently with a slow movement. The goal is to promote mobility and healing.
• McKenzie exercises—these exercises focus on extending the spine and neck to centralize the pain away from the extremities. Once the chiropractor and patient work through these exercises, the patient can use them at home as well as during treatment. The patient gets the benefit of being in control of part of the healing process.
• Muscle relaxation and stimulation—in this technique, the muscles are stretched calmly and gently. This relief of tension should help reduce pain and discomfort and lead to healing. Finger pressure on selected pressure points may be part of this process.
Whiplash requires individualized treatment. Your chiropractor is experienced and trained to determine the best treatment regimen for you.
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