Whiplash is a neck condition that is incredibly common in the United States. Let’s look at the nature of the injury, along with treatment via chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Whiplash refers to any injuries that result when the neck is forced to move quickly in one direction and then back in the opposite direction, in a similar motion to a whip. It occurs most often to auto occupants during collisions (especially when their vehicle is rear-ended); however, whiplash also originates in other situations, such as athletic activities or on the job.
According to health statistic resource RightDiagnosis.com, whiplash is experienced by 120,000 people every year in the United States, amounting to 328 incidents of the injury every single day.
What’s Happening Within the Body?
Typically whiplash involves a neck sprain or strain. The ligaments that surround the cervical spine can be sprained, which means they are torn. Facet capsules, ligaments that cover the facet joints at the back of your neck, often are sprained during car accidents.
Plus, muscles and tendons tend to be strained, which means they are overstretched and overextended. “The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation,” adds the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). “The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed.” It is also uncommon but possible that a whiplash victim experiences a vertebral dislocation or fracture.
There are two basic elements of recovery from whiplash:
- Staying Active – You want to keep living your life as normally as possible, except for cases of major injury in which immobilization is necessary.
- Professional care – When you visit a physical therapy or chiropractic clinic, you may be told to ice or heat the injury to limit both pain and spasming. Healthcare professionals may prescribe exercises and stretches as well. Additional physical therapy treatments include ultrasound and electrical stimulation. However, those techniques “should not … replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching,” says the ACA, which adds that “spinal manipulation and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor can … give relief in many cases of neck pain.”
Do you think you might be suffering from whiplash? Envista Medical provides natural healing techniques incorporated in medical and chiropractic care to bring relief to our patients.