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What Is Whiplash And How Can Chiropractic Help?

Whiplash injuries are common and frequently treated at Isis Chiropractic Centres. Injuries to the neck caused by a sudden movement of the head, backward, forward, or sideways, are referred to as ‘Whiplash’.

Whiplash is not a diagnosis but a mechanism of injury resulting in a sprain and muscle strain and sometimes has more severe effects. Whether from a car accident, sports or an accident at work whiplash or neck injuries warrant a thorough examination to be accurately diagnosed.

What Is The Mechanism Of Whiplash Injuries?

Whiplash is most commonly suffered as a result of a road traffic accident. An impact/collision causes the head to suddenly jerk back and forth beyond its normal limits.

  • The muscles and ligaments supporting the spine can be overstretched or torn.
  • The discs between the vertebrae can bulge, tear or rupture.
  • Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion.
  • The spinal cord and nerve roots get stretched, irritated and choked.

One problem with whiplash is that the symptoms can take years to develop and too often people do not seek treatment until more complications develop. Even after whiplash victims settle their insurance claims, some 45% report they still suffer with symptoms two years later.

In the past a typical whiplash injury where no bones were broken was hard to document as soft tissue injuries do not show up on normal x-rays.

New imaging devices such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) now show soft tissue injuries and are sometimes the best form of imaging to use for whiplash injuries.

A functional examination is an important part of finding out what injuries have been sustained. This will include testing range of movement, orthopaedic and neurological tests and also other tests depending on what is found in the initial assessment.

What Are The Symptoms Of Whiplash

When no bones are broken and the head does not strike the windshield, typical symptoms include:

Other symptoms include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, play it safe and book a chiropractic check-up.

Important Facts About Whiplash

If car headrests are too low or at the correct height but more than 2 inches from the head, they significantly increase the risk of more serious whiplash injury. A seat that is reclined too far or poor posture when driving will increase the severity of injuries.

Age plays an important role, as the body becomes older ligaments become less pliable, muscles weaker and less flexible and range of motion is decreased.

Women and children seem to be injured more seriously than men. This is most notably due to the fact that they tend to be shorter. Because of this, they are either too close to the steering wheel/airbag and or have improper fitting shoulder harness or seat belt.

Pre-existing health problems (e.g. arthritis) lend to the severity of the injuries.

Symptoms can be delayed for days and in some cases may not surface for years. Worse still whiplash can be causing symptoms after five years and in the long run they can cause secondary problems such as osteoarthritis and premature disc degeneration.

The Chiropractic Approach To Whiplash

The Chiropractic Approach to these types of injuries is to use specific, gentle adjustments to help restore spinal movement and use of Low Level Laser Therapy to reduce inflammation and give pain relief. Followed by a rehabilitation exercise programme to further help you to recover.

What Does The Research Say?

Current research says that manual therapy and exercise that focus on regaining function, is more effective than other types of treatments. Especially if the treatment is started as early as possible.

Click here for information on research on Chiropractic, Whiplash and Neck Pain.

So, ‘wait and see’ and to take painkillers is not the way forward if you want to get rid of your neck pain! If you need any further information, please contact us here. We are more than happy to help.

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