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Whiplash Doesn't Have to Be Pain in the Neck

By Debra Rodzinak

Most people have heard of whiplash, but most don’t realize that other than rest, there are some helpful remedies to relieve the pain of whiplash.  Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the neck being thrown violently forward causing strain to the neck muscles or damage to the delicate spinal vertebrae of the neck. Seeking the help of a chiropractor for a suspected case of whiplash is important.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Being a complex injury, whiplash can have a variety of problems, such as:

  • Joint Dysfunction – When one of the joints in the spine loses its ability to absorb shock, restricted movement and associated pain are common.
  • Disc Herniation – Injury to the discs that sit between each spinal vertebra can cause these delicate discs to crack or tear, which causes the inner core of the disc to poke out through the outer core.  When an inner core of a disc makes contact with a spinal nerve, the result is a herniated disc.  Symptoms can include a sharp, shooting pain that travels across the back and down the arm.  Some people even experience numbness and tingling.
  • Chronic Pain – If a whiplash injury is severe, long lasting or chronic pain can persist.  These pains are found in the neck, but may radiate down the arm.
  • Movement Patterns – Some professionals believe that when the nervous system is under an onslaught of intense pain, the nervous system can change the way it controls the affected muscles. 
  • Cognitive Dysfunction – Depending upon the placement of the whiplash injury, some patients experience mental difficulties such as concentrating.

Treatments for Whiplash

Along with rest for a few days, ice and heat therapy, massage, and chiropractic can be used to help the injury heal and bring the patient pain relief without the use of drugs or surgery.

  • Rest – Resting the affected area for a few days is helpful, but should not be done for a prolonged period of time.  Muscle atrophy may ensue if the muscles are not used daily.
  • Ice and Heat Therapy – Alternating ice and heat every 15 to 20 minutes helps with the initial injury.  Ice numbs the pain and heat brings healing blood to the area.
  • Massage – After the area is not sore to the touch, a gentle massage is beneficial to allow the area to receive vital blood and nutrients needed for healing.
  • Chiropractic – Ensuring that the spine is in proper alignment is vital to prevent even more injury to the delicate disc and vertebrae of the spine.  Allowing a chiropractor to provide adequate adjustments gives patients peace of mind that their whiplash injury is being treated from all angles.

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