You’re sitting at a red light, listening to the radio, waiting for the light to turn green. All of a sudden your vehicle is rear-ended. Your head is quickly and violently slammed backward and then forward. You feel shooting pain throughout your neck and shoulder, running up into the back of your head. Over the next few days, your pain worsens and your neck stiffens. You can’t turn your head, you’re struggling to sleep at night, and doing daily activities just isn’t possible anymore. You’re suffering from whiplash.
None of your at-home treatment is working. Ice and heat therapy isn’t loosening up the muscles. Over-the-counter pain medication isn’t reducing the swelling or associated pain. You need a better solution. You stumble upon chiropractic care being a popular treatment method for whiplash and decide to give it a try. Within a few visits, your chiropractor has helped treat your whiplash, reduced your pain, and restored your range of motion.
Whiplash is a common problem in the United States with over 3 million people suffering from the condition every year, with 300,000 individuals becoming disabled due to the associated pain. Most cases of whiplash improve within three months by just following at-home care recommendations. However, roughly 25 percent of whiplash patients report symptoms for up to a year.
While whiplash is most commonly caused by auto accidents, it can also be the result of sports injuries, falling accidents, and physical abuse. Common symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back, and/or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Less common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
Chiropractic care is a particularly effective treatment for whiplash because it is able to reduce inflammation surrounding the affected muscles and ligaments. Additionally, it restores neck and shoulder mobility. When visiting a chiropractor for whiplash concerns, they will conduct a full examination of your spine to ensure that no other damage or issues exist in other parts of the body. This may include the need for x-rays or possibly an MRI.
Traditionally, when a whiplash injury occurs, the soft tissue of the cervical spine is subjected to both hyperextension and hyperflexion leading to intense inflammation. To address whiplash, a chiropractor typically has a multi-staged approach to heal the tissue — starting with light stretching of the neck muscles or using ultrasound therapy to promote positive blood circulation in the area. This improved blood flow is critical to reducing the swelling and stiffness in the cervical joints.
Here at Reinhardt Chiropractic, every whiplash patient is treated with a custom plan tailored to their specific case. No two patient cases are the same, meaning that the course of treatment should fit what works best for that individual. Often, some form of spinal manipulation is recommended to help heal and restore the spine’s alignment and relax the surrounding tissues.
Specific whiplash treatment techniques might include:
- Flexion-distraction technique: This hands-on technique is a gentle, non-thrusting type of spinal manipulation to help treat herniated discs that may be inflamed or irritated from the incident. The chiropractor will use a slow pumping action on the disc.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation: This technique is another non-thrusting technique that chiropractors often use. Using a specialized hand-held instrument, the chiropractor applies force without thrusting into the spine.
- Specific spinal manipulation: The chiropractor identifies spinal joints that are restricted or show abnormal motion. Using this technique, he or she will help restore motion to the joint with a gentle thrusting technique. This gentle thrusting stretches soft tissue and stimulates the nervous system to restore normal motion to the spine.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy: A chiropractor may use the Graston technique, which is an instrument-assisted technique used to treat injured soft tissues. This technique involves performing gentle repeated strokes over the injured area with the chosen instrument.
- Trigger point therapy: This therapy method has a chiropractor putting direct pressure (using their fingers) on these specific points in the area to alleviate muscle tension.
In addition, a chiropractor may suggest fascial stretch therapy, spinal decompression, or massage therapy in combination with spinal manipulation. Ultimately, chiropractic care is able to more effectively treat and care for whiplash injuries than traditional care as it focuses on addressing the root cause of the injury. By restoring proper joint alignment, reducing inflammation, and relaxing muscle posture, whiplash patients are able to improve their condition at a faster rate, with long-term success.
Denver’s Best Whiplash Chiropractor
Dr. Reinhardt has treated numerous individuals who have experienced whiplash in the Denver area. If you have been a victim of a car accident, or another incident that has resulted in whiplash, Dr. Reinhardt and our team encourage you to get in touch to receive a full assessment of your health following the incident. Contact us today to help protect your physical and emotional health moving forward.
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