WHIPLASH INJURY:

Whiplash: A neck injury caused by a sudden jerking backward, forward, or both, of the head. Whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end car collisions, in which the impact suddenly forces the car occupants’ heads to “snap” back and forth. Other causes of whiplash include a sudden jerk of one or both arms, a violent blow to the head or chin, a reflex jerking of the head due to fright or a sudden loud noise, or any kind of fall that causes a forceful movement of the head and neck. Anyone can be subjected to whiplash, even in a low-force car crash at speeds as low as 5 m.p.h.
The sudden, violent thrust and recoil of the neck and head damages the surrounding and supporting tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Whiplash most commonly causes lingering (often serious) neck pain and stiffness, but there may also be back pain, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, numbness, and even dizziness. Whiplash symptoms may or may not appear right away. After a night’s rest or even longer, you will usually experience stiffness or soreness of the neck. Often victims are stunned immediately after an accident and do not note any of the whiplash effects. It’s possible that old whiplash injuries can be the cause of many physical and psychological symptoms, even years after the accident, especially if a victim does not receive proper care quickly.
Whiplash injuries occur when a person’s spine, or neck, is injured by being unexpectedly or suddenly thrown very quickly in one direction, and then in the opposite direction. You might say the head is “whipped around” on the neck. Whiplash is one of the most common consequences of auto accidents; it is estimated that 15%-30% of car occupants will suffer neck pain. Whiplash can be mild to severe and can range anywhere from rapid healing to slow healing to long-term chronic pain and impairment. It can cause serious problems because it can cause long-term damage. When left untreated, the eventual result is serious degeneration, of the neck and spine. Whiplash symptoms may start as neck soreness or stiffness, perhaps accompanied by a headache, immediately or even 24 hours after the accident. Along with these symptoms, there may be pain and/or numbness, tingling or a pins-and-needles feeling between the shoulder blades, arm and hand.
Some people may experience ear ringing, dizziness, or even hearing loss. Sometimes the eyes can be affected and there may be pain behind the eyeballs, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or other visual symptoms. Occasionally, there may be tearing or running of the nose. Anyone who has ever had a whiplash injury, no matter how long ago, should see a chiropractor. The emergency room may have sent the patient home after x-rays and MRI or CT scans and found nothing broken or ruptured. However, the spine may still be structurally unsound. Without structural integrity, the spine will not heal properly, and problems may develop years later.
Whiplash injuries occur when a person’s spine, or neck, is injured by being unexpectedly or suddenly thrown very quickly in one direction, and then in the opposite direction. You might say the head is “whipped around” on the neck. Whiplash is one of the most common consequences of auto accidents; it is estimated that 15%-30% of car occupants will suffer neck pain. Whiplash can be mild to severe and can range anywhere from rapid healing to slow healing to long-term chronic pain and impairment. It can cause serious problems because it can cause long-term damage. When left untreated, the eventual result is serious degeneration, of the neck and spine. Whiplash symptoms may start as neck soreness or stiffness, perhaps accompanied by a headache, immediately or even 24 hours after the accident. Along with these symptoms, there may be pain and/or numbness, tingling or a pins-and-needles feeling between the shoulder blades, arm and hand.
Some people may experience ear ringing, dizziness, or even hearing loss. Sometimes the eyes can be affected and there may be pain behind the eyeballs, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or other visual symptoms. Occasionally, there may be tearing or running of the nose. Anyone who has ever had a whiplash injury, no matter how long ago, should see a chiropractor. The emergency room may have sent the patient home after x-rays and MRI or CT scans and found nothing broken or ruptured. However, the spine may still be structurally unsound. Without structural integrity, the spine will not heal properly, and problems may develop years later.

Manipulation
Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation
Various exercises

TREATMENT:

The primary whiplash treatment for joint dysfunction, spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor gently moving the involved joint into the direction in which it is restricted.
Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, spinal manipulation may involve the application of a short thrust in that direction. In many cases, instead of a thrust, a slow mobilizing movement is used.
Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited may also be used. If the muscle is very tight, a more vigorous stretch may be applied by the chiropractor. Gentle finger pressure techniques may be applied to trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.
Different types of exercises may be employed, including McKenzie exercises and/or stabilization and sensorimotor exercises, to help treat patients with whiplash injuries.
McKenzie exercises are specifically designed to reduce disc derangement related to a whiplash injury. They consist of simple movements that are initially done in the office but make for an easy transition to self-care at home. McKenzie exercises also help the patient take an active role in his or her own recovery.
Stabilization and sensorimotor exercise approaches are designed to correct faulty movement patterns in routine activities and everyday life. Such whiplash treatment trains the nervous system to better coordinate and control movement patterns, and improves the ability of the neck muscles to maintain stability of the neck.
These exercises are designed to help in a major trauma, such as a fall or whiplash during a motor vehicle accident, or in “micro trauma” from simple things such as being jostled in a crowd, playing sports or performing occupational or home jobs that require physical effort.
The whiplash treatment plan developed by your chiropractor for each specific problem may include one or more of these approaches and may involve others as well.
In addition to his or her whiplash treatment plan, the doctor might give a referral to another health professional, such as a medical specialist, if it is deemed appropriate.