Rapid forward and backward movement of the neck, such as movements experienced in a car accident, often results in injury to the muscles of the neck, known as whiplash. Gone untreated, whiplash can limit your neck’s range of motion and cause chronic stiffness and pain. Dr. Simon Forster and Brian N. Forrest of Austin Chiropractic Associates, located in Austin, Texas, treat whiplash with chiropractic manipulations, muscle relaxation and stimulation, and McKenzie exercises to reduce pain, and return normal movements and functions.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. Whiplash can also cause pain in the shoulders, lower back, arms, or between the shoulder blades.
Patients may also experience difficulty turning their head or suffer from general fatigue. Additionally, because whiplash can cause an imbalance in the spine, patients may experience inflammation in the neck and back, contributing to feelings of stiffness and pain.
Symptoms can appear immediately following the incident that caused whiplash or take several days to manifest. Most patients notice a reduction in their symptoms after a few weeks or a few months of treatment.
What causes whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the head is thrown forward and then backward with sudden force. Although whiplash is frequently associated with car accidents, any blow or impact that causes the head to suddenly jerk forward or backward can strain the muscles and connective tissues in the neck and shoulders. Athletes, especially those in contact sports, may suffer from whiplash if they receive a high-impact hit, putting extreme stress on the cervical spine.
How can chiropractic care help a whiplash injury?
Chiropractic care focuses on restoring balance to the body and can be very effective in treating the joint dysfunction and inflammation caused by whiplash injuries. Chiropractors use a number of techniques to bring alignment to the body and support healing, including:
- Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
- Physical exercises
- Ergonomic and lifestyle changes
Spinal manipulation is one of the primary whiplash treatments for joint dysfunction, which involves the chiropractor gently moving the problematic joint, correcting its function. By aiding alignment, and appropriate function in the neck and spine, chiropractors can help reduce mechanical stress and inflammation in problem areas, allowing the muscles and connective tissues to heal properly.
Muscle relaxation, physical exercises, and ergonomic changes focus on applying gentle stretches and teaching safe movements that allow the body to heal itself more rapidly. Drs. Forster and Forrest will initially teach our patients the movements in the office, allowing for an easy transition to self-care at home.
If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from a whiplash injury, set up an appointment to meet with us and develop a treatment plan.