If you have suffered a whiplash-type injury to the neck, chiropractic care is a good choice to reduce pain and return proper mechanics to the cervical spine.
To understand the chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries, it is important to briefly review the nature of this type of neck injury. Whiplash is characterized as an injury to the muscles of the neck from the traumatic rapid forward and backward motion of the neck during an accident.
Chiropractic emphasizes a comprehensive picture of the mechanisms of neck sprain. As important as muscle injury is the response of the nervous system to trauma, and the injury to deeper tissues of the spine with resulting restriction or fixation of spinal joints.
The acute pain and restricted motion you experience after a whiplash injury is a product of injured tissue, and the protective response of the nervous system as it locks up spinal joints to protect you from possible injury to the spinal cord.
Additionally, trigger point therapy is very effective for locating specific hypertonic (tight), painful points on a muscle. He or she puts direct pressure (using the fingers) on these points to relieve the tension.
Interferential electrical stimulation: This uses a low frequency electrical current to stimulate your muscles in order to reduce inflammation.
Ultrasound: By increasing blood circulation, ultrasound helps reduce muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. It does this by sending sound waves deep into your muscle tissues, creating a gentle heat that enhances circulation and heating.
Massage is a popular therapy that helps millions of people with a wide variety of spinal conditions, including whiplash.
Using hands or specialized tools, a massage therapist kneads, rubs, and strokes the affected muscles to increase blood flow (circulation) throughout the body. This, in turn, delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and helps eliminate any acids or other waste products that accumulate there, thereby relieving pain.
In the initial period after your whiplash injury, you should be wary of exercising. The first 24 to 48 hours would, in fact, be a great time to relax and use ice on your neck to help reduce the pain. After that time, you can switch between heat and ice (about 20 minutes of each); the heat will help the tissues heal.
If, however, your doctor doesn't suspect that you've fractured or dislocated something, you can and should begin exercising as soon as possible (that means as soon as your doctor says it's okay).
To help your neck heal from whiplash, you can do several simple exercises. And even after the pain and other whiplash symptoms fade, you can continue to do these exercises because they help maintain your neck's mobility. They'll keep your neck strong and healthy.
Please consult with your health professional before beginning any stretching program, especially after trauma.