Whiplash is a condition that is caused by trauma. More specifically, whiplash is often caused by either a car crash or when someone violently shakes another person, causing their head to bob back and forth quickly.
But regardless of what has caused the whiplash, the most important thing is that the patient finds relief from the debilitating symptoms of this disorder. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the topic of whiplash and investigate whether or not chiropractic care is a good option for patients with this condition.
Whiplash usually occurs due to auto accidents. When one car is stopped, and another car rams them from the front, side, or back, the head is rapidly swung in one direction, then another.
This quick acceleration of the head in multiple directions slams the brain into the skull, causing what is known as a coup or contrecoup injury. Essentially, whiplash can be grouped in the same category as concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
Because whiplash involves brain damage, the symptoms can vary widely from person to person. However, there are a few commonalities between most patients who experience whiplash.
Symptoms of Whiplash
In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most common symptoms related to whiplash. Naturally, everyone’s experience with this condition will vary. But the symptoms listed below are likely to affect most people who suffer a whiplash injury.
The most common symptom related to whiplash is neck pain. Many patients who experience whiplash will experience bruising and pain around the muscles of the neck due to the high forces placed on them during the event that caused the injury. Often, the neck pain will resolve within a normal timeframe for healing muscles.
However, there are cases of whiplash-related neck pain which last for many months and years after the injury occurred.
Whiplash sufferers will often report recurring headaches long after the injury. While it’s not entirely clear why headaches continue on after most of the other symptoms have resolved, it’s likely due to the direct injury to the brain that usually occurs due to whiplash.
Headaches are often passed off as mild symptoms. But for those that suffer from chronic headaches, these attacks are anything but mild. Headaches can ruin one’s entire day, forcing them to remain in a dark room, hoping the symptoms go away quickly.
In some cases of whiplash, victims can develop nerve symptoms, or symptoms that affect the nervous system. For instance, a car accident victim who suffers from whiplash may have permanent or temporary numbness in his or her hands.
This is usually because the muscles and other structures of the neck are inflamed and damaged. This inflammation and damage lead to less space for the nerves to exit the spinal cord, leading to “pinching” of said nerves. Because of this pinching, the nerves aren’t able to effectively communicate with the areas of the body they are supposed to serve. Leading to numbness and other nerve symptoms.
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
After a whiplash injury, many patients will visit the emergency room (with good reason). Unfortunately, once the hospital team has ruled out immediate, life-threatening injuries, they will usually send the patient home to rest. Without proper care, this patient is likely to suffer many of the symptoms listed in the previous section of this article.
Luckily, your local chiropractor can help you recover from your whiplash injury. By gently adjusting your spine, your chiropractor can help you restore communication between the brain and the rest of the body, reducing symptoms and improving function in whiplash patients.