What is Whiplash, and How Can I Fix It?

By Dr. Molly Casey

Young Man with Neck Pain from Whiplash

Have you ever had an injury or trauma that left you with a pain in the neck? I have. Neck pain can be debilitating and get under your skin. One of the most common issues with traumas or accidents is whiplash. It can be complicated and painful. It can also be helped with chiropractic care; in fact chiropractic adjustments are an important part of the proper healing process.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe a condition that occurs due to a specific mechanism of injury. It’s when the head and neck are forcibly moved forward and then backward in a rapid motion. In the medical community, this mechanism of injury is called cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD).

Damage Done

CAD causes stretching of spinal joint ligaments that help provide stability to the cervical joints, it can cause some cervical joints to be restricted in range of motion while other joints to move excessively, and muscles can both be stretched beyond their intended limits and then as a result become increasingly tight to attempt to compensate.

Signs and Symptoms

Pain and achiness in the neck, back, and upper shoulders are common symptoms. Headaches, difficulty concentrating and being easily distracted or irritated frequently accompany whiplash injuries. Often symptoms don’t appear for days following the injury.

Common Causes of Whiplash

Yes, car accidents are a common reason for whiplash injuries but are not the only cause. Sports injuries from tackles in football and falls from soccer can cause whiplash, just as hobbies such as skydiving or traumas in daily life such as falls down stairs or off a bike can cause a whiplash.

Chiropractic Care and Whiplash

Chiropractic care is an excellent option to gain maximal healing from whiplash because of what it provides for important elements of the body.

Central nervous system: First, and foremost, chiropractic adjustments allow the central nervous system to function at its optimal level and in doing so the healing process is maximized. That’s because the CNS controls everything your body does, from breathing and blinking to sending messages to your fingertips to bend. You can’t reach maximum performance without a properly performing central nervous system free from interference.

Joints: The chiropractic adjustment can restore range of motion to joints that were previously limited. Clearly, there is benefit for that specific joint. In addition, the overall demand of motion in the entire neck is then re-dispersed in a healthier or more normal distribution. This, too, facilitates increased and more efficient healing.

Muscles and ligaments: When the chiropractic adjustment removes central nervous system interference, it allows optimal transmission of information from brain to the body, including muscles and tendons involved in this type of injury. Chiropractic also assists in resetting the muscle spindle, which has direct effect on the length and level of tension in the muscles themselves. As joint motion is improved and restored, the demand upon the muscles, tendons, and ligaments also become more regulated and normal.

If you find yourself or someone you love suffering from what you feel may be a whiplash injury from a past or recent accident, let the doctors of chiropractic at The Joint help you and your spine heal fully and quickly through quality chiropractic care.

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