Because each individual case of whiplash 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 chiropractic exam.
However, chiropractors commonly employ different chiropractic treatments for whiplash, often including:
Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
Ergonomic and lifestyle changes.
This article explains when, why and how chiropractors may employ these whiplash treatments for neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain and other related symptoms.
Chiropractic Manipulation for Whiplash
The primary whiplash treatment for joint dysfunction, spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor gently moving the involved joint into the direction in which it is restricted.
Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, spinal manipulation may involve the application of a short thrust in that direction. In many cases, instead of a thrust, a slow mobilizing movement is used by the chiropractor.
Muscle Relaxation or Stimulation as Whiplash Treatments
The chiropractor's primary whiplash treatment for related muscle dysfunction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited.
If the muscle is very tight, a more vigorous stretch may be applied by the chiropractor. Gentle finger pressure techniques may be applied to trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.
McKenzie Exercises and Stabilization/Sensorimotor Activities
Chiropractors may employ different types of exercises, including McKenzie exercises and/or stabilization and sensorimotor exercises, to help treat patients with whiplash injuries.
McKenzie exercises are specifically designed to reduce disc derangement related to a whiplash injury. They consist of simple movements that are initially done in the office but make for an easy transition to self-care at home. McKenzie exercises also help the patient take an active role in his or her own recovery.
Mobilization and sensorimotor exercise approaches are designed to correct faulty movement patterns in routine activities and everyday life. Such whiplash treatment trains the nervous system to better coordinate and control movement patterns, and improves the ability of the neck muscles to maintain stability of the neck.
These exercises are designed to help in a major trauma, such as a fall or whiplash during a motor vehicle accident, or in "micro trauma" from simple things such as being jostled in a crowd, playing sports or performing occupational or home jobs that require physical effort.
Chiropractic Advice on Ergonomic and Lifestyle Changes
These whiplash treatment suggestions stress improvements for performing everyday activities with minimal strain to the body. The chiropractic advice addresses factors in an individual’s work, home or recreational activities that perpetuate the dysfunctions that result from the whiplash accident.
Additionally, spine care professionals at the chiropractic clinic may teach the patient better "use of self" and, if necessary, stress reduction methods to help chiropractic problems.
After sustaining whiplash injuries, it is fairly common for people to suffer from chronic neck pain. A chiropractor can detect certain factors in a patient’s history and chiropractic exam to better determine patients who may be more susceptible to chronic pain from a whiplash injury.
This process will help the doctor of chiropractic identify when aggressive preventative measures should be taken for patients who may be at a greater risk of developing chronic neck pain from whiplash injuries.
Chiropractic Treatment Approach to Whiplash Injuries
The chiropractor’s general approach to managing the patient’s chiropractic care is critical to the success of preventing chronic pain from whiplash injuries.
In the early stages of management, it is very important for the chiropractor to rapidly reduce the patient’s neck pain, back pain and/or other symptoms.
Soon after, the chiropractor’s whiplash treatment must be shifted toward restoration of the patient’s function. This means helping the patient return to work, home and recreational activities as soon as possible after sustaining the whiplash injuries. This process may involve a gradual transition to these activities, even if the patient is not sure that he or she can engage in them fully.
Restoring confidence after a whiplash injury on the part of the patient in his or her ability to get back to normal activity levels is also important for rehabilitation.
Exercise, both for the purpose of correcting faulty movement patterns and instability, and for general fitness, is important in this effort to treat whiplash injuries.
Teaching the patient the nature of chronic pain (that "hurt does not necessarily mean harm") and placing focus on those activities the patient can do, rather than those he or she cannot, are major parts of chronic pain and disability prevention after whiplash injuries.
Chiropractors integrate the strategies explained above to develop the most effective approach for recovering from a whiplash injury and preventing future episodes of back pain.
Whiplash is an injury to the cervical region of the spine when a great force causes the neck to go beyond its normal range of motion. The spinal vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles may be injured by this force, causing neck pain, headaches, neck stiffness, and/or cognitive difficulties such as dizziness or trouble concentrating. These symptoms may appear immediately or after a few days.
Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness in St. Charles Missouri, 63303 at 636-916-0660 to schedule your no out of pocket cost for evaluation for your whiplash injuries.