Whiplash, or otherwise known as cervical strain is the microscopic tearing of the soft tissue and ligaments that surround the cervical spine and is caused by the neck being thrown forcibly backward and then forward resembling a whipping motion. Whiplash injuries are most commonly caused by the sudden acceleration or deceleration of the neck which is commonly caused by rear-end collisions. Symptoms of whiplash may include muscle stiffness, spasm, swelling, and pain. Normally, whiplash injuries heal within two to ten weeks depending on its severity.
Chiropractic care addresses cervical strain injuries in a natural and non-invasive manner. Chiropractors’ skill and techniques are focused on relieving neck pain and other effects of whiplash, which can be debilitating and painful. Chiropractic treatments can consist of a variety of spinal adjustments. When these are performed, they may effectively reduce symptoms by decreasing pain levels, muscle spasm and inflammation of tissue. The treatment can also help with the restoration of cervical movement after an accident. Another goal is to prevent or minimize degenerative processes, as well as to reduce the possibility of chronic symptoms.
Common therapies include ice and heat therapies, soft tissue mobilization, spinal exercises and stretches, nutritional supplementation, as well as physiological therapies such as ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation.
Duration of treatment
As with any injury, there will be a number of factors that influence the duration of treatment for whiplash. The severity of the injury, the length of time between the injury between sustained and the injury being initiated, how well the patient adheres to the treatment plan and the size and strength of the cervical musculature may all play a role.
Immediate care following an accident is the most effective way to eliminate pain and prevent residual and chronic problems. The longer the wait to start treatment, the greater the chance of developing a chronic condition and the more difficult that becomes to manage.
Recurrence of whiplash injuries
Timely evaluation and appropriate treatment are the key factors in determining the prognosis of the patient. Studies suggest that whiplash victims will have a poor prognosis if they fail to seek treatment immediately. Some basic whiplash injuries can last for as long as six months after the accident. Almost all experts agree that prompt evaluation and treatment can improve a patient’s prognosis.
Numbness, shooting pains and tingling
Arm, hand and leg pain as well as numbness and tingling, can indicate a much more serious injury requiring immediate medical attention. Chiropractors are not qualified to treat these kinds of injuries and chiropractic patients are normally referred out to orthopedic physicians.