Whiplash can be debilitating, keeping you from going about your day without suffering from sharp and distracting pain. Worse, whiplash pain can hang around for far longer than you’d like it, with most healing within six weeks following the injury, but a third of people report experiencing neck pain even ten years after the injury.
Causes of Whiplash
The most common cause of whiplash is from a car accident, but it can also stem from other causes. Essentially any blow or impact to the head that causes it to jerk forward and then back again can cause whiplash. The sudden force of a blow of this type can stretch and tear the muscles and tendons of your neck. Contact sports, such as football, can cause whiplash in amateur and professional athletes.
Symptoms of Whiplash
One of the most frustrating of whiplash symptoms is the decreased range of motion in the neck. Patients complain of being unable to turn their heads to the right or left. Pain and tightness also accompany this affliction, as well as tenderness and headaches that begin at the base of the skull and radiate towards the forehead.
Be aware that if you’ve been injured but don’t feel pain right away, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have whiplash. The signs can sometimes be immediate, but often it can take a few hours or even a few days before the neck pain sets in.
There are a few things you can do at home to address whiplash and ease the pain. Be sure to get plenty of rest during the first 24 hours following your injury. Alternate heat or cold to your neck for 15 minutes throughout the day, but no more than six times a day. Feel free to take over the counter pain relievers to control the pain. Some exercises have been found to be helpful as well, including rotating your neck, tilting your head from side to side, putting your chin on your chest, and rolling your shoulders. However, these treatments work best when paired with professional health.
Chiropractic care for whiplash
Chiropractors focus on your spine as a whole, so even when visiting your friendly neighborhood chiropractor for neck pain, they’ll still take a look at your entire spine and its affected regions. They may use motion or static palpation to diagnose your injury through touch. They will feel along your spine to find spots that are tight or tender and see how well the joints are able to move. By watching you walk and your posture and alignment, they’re able to get a good idea of your overall spine health.
Immediately after the whiplash occurs, the chiropractor will address neck inflammation through an ultrasound, for example. They may help you through some gentle stretches and manual therapy techniques. Once the inflammation has lessened, spinal manipulation can help restore a normal motion to the joints of your neck.
To lessen your neck pain and restore a full range of motion, as well as to prevent the pain from becoming lasting or permanent, seek chiropractic care as soon as possible in the time following an accident. Call your chiropractor today if you feel that you are suffering from whiplash.