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What You Need to Know About Whiplash Frontwards and Backwards

By Dr. Molly Casey

Whiplash and Chiropractic Care

Most people have heard the term whiplash, but many overuse the term or misuse it fully. It can be scary when you’re told you have it and you’re unsure about what it is or what to do about it.

This article is a look into what whiplash actually is and conservative ways of caring for it so the result provides the most expeditious and optimal recovery.

What Is It and What Does It Do?

Plain and simple, whiplash is a neck injury (cervical spine). It occurs from rapid, forceful back and forth movement of the neck. Think of the motion of a cracking whip and that will give you the visual of the motion that occurs that causes the injury.

Some structural injuries that can occur are overstretching of ligaments and tendons, restricted or increased range of motion, splinting of muscles, and damage to proprioceptors (receptors that tell your body where it is in space). If severe enough, damage to the discs and nerves can occur as well.

These structural stresses can cause a myriad of symptoms including, but not limited to, neck pain, headaches, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbances, memory and concentration problems, and in severe cases, depression. The person suffering from whiplash can feel as if they are in a fog. The more severe the injury, generally the more severe the symptoms.

How It Occurs

Whiplash is most commonly thought of as an injury related to auto accidents, particularly rear-end accidents, but whiplash is not solely caused on roadways. Remember, it is the motion that causes the injury, meaning any incident in which the rapid, forceful back and forth movement is present can cause whiplash. So anything jarring can cause whiplash: car accidents, physical abuse or fighting, trips and falls (including those from heights), sports ranging from football to skiing to horseback riding to ice skating. Whiplash can come from practically anywhere in a given circumstance.

Conservative Care

Conservative care is often a helpful option for optimal healing results. Care for every injury is unique to the person and the circumstances of the incident. Chiropractic care is one of the most conservative and natural approaches to health care and injury treatment. The chiropractic adjustment helps restore joint range of motion, which is very often compromised in whiplash.

Through restoration of joint motion, the chiropractic adjustment also promotes proper nervous system function, which increases communication within the body. Optimal communication is required for the best possible healing scenario for your neck.

When joint motion is restored, stress and tension is alleviated from muscles, tendons and ligaments that may have been injured in the incident. The adjustment stimulates and resets the proprioceptors found in the joint, thereby allowing the body to reacclimate, position itself, and read external information properly.

The chiropractic adjustment also promotes proper lymphatic flow, which is the transportation of waste through the system in order to clean out the body. Proper lymph flow is required for removing damaged cells and assisting in the healing process. The chiropractor can also recommend additional appropriate measures and modalities such as activity modification, ice, stretching or movement exercises.

Whiplash can be scary and certainly a pain in the neck. However, it does not need to be debilitating. You can heal and you can do so with minimal intervention. The body, when given the proper environment, knows what to do to heal itself. Sometimes it needs a bit of help on the journey. Should you find yourself experiencing whiplash, find your way into The Joint Chiropractic and let the doctors help your body heal itself.

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