Whiplash treatment by our Sydney Chiropractor may comprise:
- spinal mobilization to restore the normal movement
- spinal adjustments to correct misaligned vertebra.
Chiropractic is an effective whiplash treatment for minimizing the long-term impact of whiplash injuries. Especially when used in conjunction with massage therapy. Trigger point therapy and exercise rehabilitation also impact the treatment well.
What is Whiplash
Whiplash is a fairly common injury that usually results from a rear impact while being in a stationary position.
Whiplash occurs due to a rapid hyperextension or hyperflexion of the neck. This results in damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the head. This can cause a pinched nerve in the neck. Whiplash is often mistreated or completely ignored.
Early treatment intervention leads to a more rapid recovery in terms of pain and range of motion. And much more so than a prolonged period immobilization or use of a cervical collar.
Failure to properly educate or provide whiplash treatment to patients with whiplash can lead to chronic psychosocial symptoms including anxiety and depression.
Causes of Whiplash
Some examples of whiplash causes include the following.
- a motor vehicle accident
- a ride on the dodgem cars
- jumping on the trampoline
- coughing or sneezing
Four Phases of a Whiplash Injury
During the first phase, the result in an upward force in your neck compressing your discs and joints. Your head then moves backward.
During phase two, your head has not yet begun to accelerate forward and continues to move rearward. Your seat back then recoils forward, much like a springboard. This forward seat back recoil occurs while your head is still moving backward. This results in a force in the neck that is one of the more damaging aspects of a whiplash injury. Many of the bone, joint, nerve, disc and TMJ injuries seen clinically occur during this phase.
During the third phase, your torso is now descending back down in your seat and your head and neck are at their peak forward acceleration. Application of the brake causes your car to slow down even quicker and increases the severity of the hyperflexion injury of your neck. As you move forward in your seat, any slack in your seat belt and shoulder harness is taken up.
This is probably the most damaging phase of the whiplash phenomenon. Your torso is stopped by your seat belt and shoulder restraint and your head moves forward unimpeded. This causes a violent forward-bending motion of your neck, straining the muscles and ligaments, damaging discs, and forcing vertebrae out of their normal position. Your spinal cord and nerve roots get stretched and irritated, and your brain can pound in your skull causing a mild to moderate brain trauma. If not properly restrained with a seat belt, you can suffer a concussion, or more severe brain injury from striking the steering wheel or windshield.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Over 90% of patients complain of neck due to whiplash, which can spread to the shoulders, head and between the blades.
Headaches affect more than 80% of all whiplash sufferers. Most are related to injury of the ligaments, nerves, muscles, and joints of the neck which refer pain to the head.
A debilitating but less common disorder that resulting from whiplash is TMJ disorder. It usually begins as pain and may include clicking in the jaw during movement. TMJ dysfunction can lead to headaches, ear or facial pain.
Dizziness can result following a whiplash injury. Typically it is temporary and improves significantly with chiropractic treatment.
Low Back Pain
The low back is also commonly injured in more than half of rear end collisions and in almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes. This is mostly due to the low back compression during the first two phases of a whiplash injury.
Recovery from Whiplash
Whiplash injuries can heal within six to nine months with the correct and prompt whiplash treatment. Around 20% continue to suffer from weakness, pain, restricted movement up to 2 years later. Unfortunately, some of these people will suffer for many years after.