Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine (neck) that occurs when your muscles and other soft tissues are hyper-stretched. Most cases of whiplash occur during a front or rear-end automobile collision, but are also seen in other accidents and sport-related injuries, like skiing, snowboarding, playing soccer, or football.
The force of being struck on the head can cause your neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons to twist with strong, unnatural force. These tissues, which are stretched beyond their natural limits, can become torn and in some cases, permanently damaged.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash may include one or more of the following:
- Blurred vision or dizziness
- Ear ringing
- General stiffness
- Headaches, especially behind the eyes
- Numbness, or burning, piercing and/or radiating pain in the neck, jaw, face, shoulders (and between the shoulder blades) and arms, which is usually a sign of a muscle or ligament tear
- Pain in any of the extremities
- Sharp pains when moving an extremity such as an arm or finger (a possible sign of disc damage)
- Swallowing difficulty
- Low back pain
Our bodies try to immobilize injured areas following a trauma. This usually begins with “protective” muscle spasm. The spasm is an attempt to prevent further harm by immobilizing damaged joints and muscles. If function is not restored within 4-8 weeks, your body will lay down scar tissue at the site of injury, making the return to full function even more difficult. This eventually leads to increased bone growth in the joint causing joint degeneration.
Avoid long-term spinal disorders. If you suspect you have whiplash from a car or from a sports injury, get a chiropractic exam right away to find out what steps can be taken to correct the damage and prevent future problems.
When Should I Get Treatment?
Pain intensity doesn’t always measure your need for treatment. Injury often occurs long before pain is experienced. And with an automobile injury, pain may not set in until long after you have settled with the insurance companies – leaving you stuck with the costs of treatment.
Auto injuries are often even more misleading. Serious injury can occur with little damage to the vehicle. In fact research shows that increased “crushing” that is usually seen with higher-speed accidents actually absorbs some of the shock of the impact and can lessen injury to the people inside. When “crushing” does not occur, like in lower-speed accidents, nearly all the shock is transferred to the driver and passengers.
Non-Drug Solution For Lasting Whiplash Recovery
Ice, anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleeve), painkillers and muscle relaxants can offer short-term relief, but do not address the source of your pain. These methods only mask the symptoms and can sometimes be harmful to your body, especially if it allows the injured person to perform activities that should be avoided until significant healing has occurred.
Remember, pain and muscle spasms are both protective responses that attempt to prevent further damage.
Chiropractic adjustments return joints to their proper motion and position allowing your body to regain its lost function. This relieves pain caused by inflammation trapped within the joints and reduces strain on tight, fatigued and spasming muscles.
Chiropractic adjustments are also effective in reducing pressure on “pinched” nerves and joint irritation often associated with headaches.
Dr. Barr has successfully treated thousands of whiplash patients. Our goal at West Coast Clinic is to return your injured joints, muscles and nerves to complete, healthy function to reduce increased risk of degeneration and chronic issues.
If you have been involved in an car accident or are experiencing symptoms after a sports injury, book an appointment online or call us today for a free examination & personal consultation to find out if you are experiencing an injury that can cause chronic issues and increase your risk of degeneration.