We treat many patients who suffer from injuries due to car accidents. The most common of these injuries is the Whiplash injury of the spine. A whiplash injury is an injury caused by a severe jerk to the head, typically in a motor-vehicle accident. This is also known as a Sprain/Strain injury to either your neck, mid back, and/or low back. Because each patient can have a whiplash that is different, it is not possible to generalize about the chiropractic whiplash treatment.
The appropriate chiropractic treatment is unique to each whiplash injury and is directed at the primary dysfunctions detected during the physical examination as well as determining factors discovered on X-Rays.
We commonly treat whiplash injuries with the following techniques and therapies:
- Spinal Manipulation
- Electronic Muscle Stimulation
- Various Exercises and Stretches
- Proper Ergonomic and Lifestyle changes
- Intersegmental Traction Therapy
The primary treatment for a whiplash injury is address the joint dysfunction within the spine. This is where chiropractors use the technique of spinal manipulation which involves gently moving the involved joint or vertebrae into its proper juxtaposition. The goal here is to restore and enhance joint function within your spine, with the general result of resolving joint inflammation and reducing pain.
The next protocol for treatment relates to muscle dysfunction. Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consists of electronically stimulating the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited. This is commonly known as “Muscle Spasm.”
If the muscle is very tight, the next approach is various exercises and stretches. A more aggressive stretch may be applied by the chiropractor, as well soft tissue pressure techniques to target the trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the spastic muscles.
Proper ergonomic and lifestyle changes may be in order to help with “at home maintenance” for your injuries in order to decrease the strain from everyday activities. The chiropractor will recommend advice and techniques to address factors in a patient’s work, home, or recreational activities that perpetuate the dysfunctions that result from the whiplash injury due to the car accident.
Another therapy we use is called Hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment. The idea is to take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure to stimulate blood circulation. The use of water as a medium to facilitate thermoregulatory reactions for therapeutic benefit has been commonly known to alleviate the pain and increase the recovery process for patients with whiplash injuries.
The final treatment therapy we use is Intersegmental Traction. When the spine’s postural muscles (the muscles that hold you upright) are traumatized by a car accident, muscle spasms (which were mentioned earlier) will occur. The intersegmental traction table’s job is to elongate the postural muscles of your spine in an even manner in order to allow proper joint motion, as well as circulation and increased range of motion throughout the spine.
In conclusion, long term damage to the spine is especially common in auto accidents left untreated by physical medicine. Doctors of chiropractic have for years recognized the need for neuro-structural integrity in the affected areas of the spine, and that most victims of automobile injuries do not fully recover under medication only. In our experience, results have shown that these patients may continue to have problems for years after the accident. Chiropractic treatment has been proven to help decrease the pain from whiplash injuries and inhibit long term damaging effects.