Friday, June 19th, 2015
It is estimated that approximately 3 million whiplash injuries occur in the US each year. The definition of whiplash - a neck (cervical) injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck – is likened to the cracking of a whip.
The specialists at Comprehensive Healthcare Group at their locations in Oceanside and Valley Stream offer the most up-to-date treatments for whiplash injury. Treatment involving early active gentle mobilization has been proven to lead to successful recovery.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but can also occur in a side impact. The injury can also result from a sports accident (such as diving), physical abuse or other trauma. This impact can result in bony and/or soft-tissue injuries which can lead to whiplash-associated disorders. Pain lasting more than 6 weeks can become chronic and it is therefore strongly recommended to seek treatment immediately after whiplash injury.
Whiplash causes a cervical strain or sprain and the word whiplash comes from the abruptness of the change in direction of motion, most commonly as the result of a car accident. The severity of a whiplash injury is unrelated to the severity of impact and the change in direction of motion is what causes the injury. So low-speed impacts can have equally devastating effects as high-speed. Increased traffic density has actually been identified as a culprit in the increase in whiplash injuries as stop-and-go traffic invites this type of collision.
What Happens After?
What is also interesting is that the symptoms of whiplash injury can often be delayed for as much as 24 hours to a few days after the accident. So, after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, let’s say a hit-from-behind at a stop sign, you shake it off and feel “pretty okay.” But the next morning, your neck pain is severe. Within the first few days after the initial trauma, you may experience any, many, all, or some of the following: neck pain and stiffness, pain in the shoulders or between the shoulder blades, low back pain, pain or numbness in the arms or hands or headaches and dizziness, difficulty with cognition (thinking, concentrating or remembering), visual disturbance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), jaw pain (TMJ), inability to sleep, or profound fatigue.
Whiplash can cause “military neck,” where the normal curvature of the cervical spine becomes straightened due to the severe muscle spasms from the accident.
Whiplash causes injury to soft tissues – discs, muscles, ligaments. Regular x-rays of the vertebrae of the neck can show a straightening of the cervical curve (lordosis) due to the musculoskeletal strain of the accident. Often, MRIs and CT scans are also utilized to visualize and identify the extent of damage and to guide treatment.
Whiplash doesn’t respond to only one specific treatment. Most recent studies advocate using ice for the first 24 hours after injury, but after that gentle movement/exercise is found to be most effective along with heat and the realm of chiropractic care, physical therapy, pain relief medications, massage, ultrasound, injections and in some cases, even traction.
Our chiropractor in Valley Stream and chiropractic therapy is extremely effective in reducing the muscle strain and aligning the 7 vertebrae of the neck after whiplash injury. Physical therapy can be useful in helping to strengthen muscles and reduce painful motions. During physical therapy, gentle massage and ultrasound treatment can be utilized to great effect. Sometimes, injections and traction have a role, but our healthcare givers will guide you to the proper treatment for your specific presentation. Occupational therapy is effective in helping the patient to return to the work environment. Medications can be used in conjunction with the above to give you increased pain relief after you leave our office.
The health care professionals at Comprehensive Healthcare Group, at our Valley Stream and Oceanside locations, want you to achieve your maximum strength and comfort and get you back to your healthy lifestyle. Are you looking for a chiropractor in Valley Stream or Oceanside? Call us today to arrange for your assessment and treatment.