Each year, there are an estimated 6 million car accidents in the United States. Among these accidents, approximately 3 million individuals are injured. One of the most common auto accident injuries is a condition known as whiplash.
If you have recently been diagnosed with whiplash after an accident, learn more about why care from a whiplash chiropractor is an effective and natural treatment option.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when an individual’s head and neck are suddenly thrust forward and backward. This motion commonly occurs when the brakes are applied suddenly during a car accident. It also more common for those who have had their car rear-ended.
Despite common misconceptions, an auto accident does not have to be severe to experience whiplash. Experts state that the condition can occur at speeds as low as 5-10 mph. Therefore, any auto accident can put you at risk of developing whiplash.
Car accidents are not the only cause of whiplash. In fact, many high-impact sports can lead to whiplash injuries that are just as serious (and sometimes worse) than those sustained in auto accidents.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
By far, the most common symptom of whiplash is a pain in the neck area. This pain often increases with motion. Aside from this, those with whiplash often report the following symptoms:
- Lack of range of motion in the neck
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, and/or back
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Sleep difficulties
It is important to note that symptoms of whiplash may not manifest immediately. Some individuals report symptoms hours, days, or even weeks after a car accident.
What Long-Term Problems Are Associated With Whiplash?
While some cases of whiplash resolve within a matter of weeks, some whiplash patients may go on to develop chronic pain. This is more likely to be the case if an individual does not seek proper treatment. It can also happen if a patient has previously had whiplash, is an older adult, or if the accident was severe, or if there is a history of neck issues.
Of these factors, the only one that can be controlled is the methods of treatment that a person chooses. Although rest and limited motion may feel good, it is not a wise treatment method for avoiding long-term complications. Instead, seeing a whiplash chiropractor as soon after the injury as possible is one of your best treatment options.
Why is chiropractic care recommended after whiplash? Regular, yet careful, movement of the head, neck, and arms is crucial after sustaining a whiplash injury. This is to prevent more severe neck pain, stiffness, and pain that spreads. Despite the pain that occurs with motion, letting your muscles sit for prolonged periods of time does more harm than good. Keeping the muscles and ligaments in motion (with the assistance of a whiplash chiropractor) will promote quick healing of the affected areas. It will also reduce the chances of developing additional long-term problems as a result of your whiplash injury.
Will chiropractic care be painful because of my whiplash injury?
Although you may feel some discomfort, you will not experience any kind of significant pain from the treatments. The discomfort you feel will also depend on the severity of your injury. All treatments are determined after a proper evaluation, examination and testing if needed.
How long does whiplash last?
Whiplash can last days, weeks or several months, the importance of being evaluated by a health care professional can not be overstated. Because every injury can be different there are multiple factors that determine someones pain and the problems caused by the injury. Depending on the severity of some cases, pain can worsen and become chronic pain. However, healing time can be reduced with treatment from a whiplash chiropractor.
One study found that “patients involved in an early range of motion exercises have been shown to have a more reliable and rapid improvement in their symptoms.1” Therefore, seeking out chiropractic care as soon after your injury as possible is strongly recommended.
If I sustained a whiplash injury years ago, and still have chronic pain, can chiropractic care still help me?
Yes! Your whiplash chiropractor could even help relieve pain from past whiplash injuries that resulted in chronic pain.
Can care from a whiplash chiropractor only help those who have been in an auto accident?
No. As stated earlier, whiplash can occur as a result of certain physical activities, including high-impact sports. Whether you have been diagnosed with whiplash due to a car accident or a sports accident, care from a chiropractor can be highly beneficial.
If you are experiencing neck pain after an accident or have pain from a past whiplash injury, get in touch with our office today. We can help you create a custom car accident and whiplash treatment plan that will help reduce both pain and inflammation, working toward the goal of long-term healing.