According to the Mayo Clinic, “Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.”
Whiplash damage mostly affects your soft tissues and joints, and chronic whiplash is defined as the presence of whiplash symptoms for three months or more.
Whiplash is most commonly caused by a rear-end car accident, even at a low speed, perhaps at a stoplight. Did you know you can suffer whiplash in car accidents as low as 5 mph? A simple rear-end at a stoplight could do serious damage to your spine.
Car accidents aren’t the only causes of whiplash though. Whiplash can happen as a result of a sports accident, like a hard foul on the basketball court, a tackle on the football field, or from other types of trauma, like a fall from a ladder, a rollercoaster ride, or even horseback riding. Whiplash is also commonly referred to as a neck sprain, and can be diagnosed by consulting a chiropractor soon after your accident.
Mayo Clinic Explains The 3 Most Common Causes Of Whiplash Injury:
- Auto accidents.Rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash.
- Physical abuse or assault.Whiplash can occur if you are punched or shaken. It’s one of the injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
- Contact sports.Football tackles and other sports-related collisions can sometimes cause whiplash.
Symptoms of whiplash may present themselves in the form of pain, stiffness and discomfort in your neck, restricted movements, and even nausea and dizziness.
Some Common Whiplash Symptoms Include:
- Pain or stiffness that gets worse when you move
- Decreased range of motion in your neck on either side
- Headaches, especially ones that start at the base of your skull
- Tenderness through your shoulders or upper back
- Tingling or numbness in your arms
- Dizziness or blurry vision
- Fatigue or irritability
- Sleep disturbances
- Ringing in the ears
Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, symptoms can easily creep up a few short days or weeks after your accident, so it’s important to seek chiropractic care immediately following your accident. We always think it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When To Seek Whiplash Treatment
This is one of the most common questions we get asked. If you’re able to, you should always seek chiropractic care after an auto injury, no matter the speed. If you experience any of the following symptoms, we recommend you seek medical help for whiplash:
- Immediately after a car accident or other trauma
- On and off again pain and stiffness in the neck
- Severe neck or back pain
- Any pain, numbness or tingling down your arms or legs
- Localized weakness in your arms or legs
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?
While a whiplash diagnosis is slightly different for each patient, you can expect to fill out your patient history forms including pre-existing conditions, go through a physical exam, and likely have diagnostic tests like an x-ray to make sure more severe damage hasn’t been done to your neck or back.
Our Littleton chiropractic office is able to do x-rays onsite, making it easy and convenient for patients. Sometimes further, extensive diagnostic testing is required.
Our Littleton chiropractors will inquire about the nature of your accident, like how fast the cars were going, and other specifics to determine the extent of your injury. As for pain, our chiropractors will ask where and how often you feel pain. Is it a constant pain, or does it come and go? Does it radiate down your back, or your arms, or both? Those are all important factors when diagnosing and treating whiplash.
As part of your physical exam, our chiropractors will check your range of motion to help determine what movements cause pain.
Chiropractic Treatment For Whiplash
Again, treatment for whiplash will vary from patient to patient, pending how severe the injury is. Most of our whiplash treatment includes manual manipulation, like a chiropractic adjustment to help properly realign the spine. Some patients have noticed immediate headache relief with chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic adjustments will also help increase your range of motion and decrease pain.
Our Littleton office also offers physical therapy and rehabilitation, which is a common and effective treatment for whiplash. Our medical team will create customized treatment plans that involve specific stretches and movements to improve your neck’s strength and flexibility (range of motion). This often takes some of the stress off the spine and helps reduce pain.
It’s important to note that treating whiplash can be an ongoing process. Our team works hard to limit your in-office visits by sharing easy exercises you can do at home to help speed up your whiplash recovery. Other whiplash treatments can include chiropractic massages, electronic nerve stimulation, heat and ice therapy, injections, over-the-counter medications, and others, including rest.
Continue practicing good posture and resting your neck will also play key roles in whiplash recovery. We don’t recommend you get back on the football field or on a rollercoaster anytime soon.
According to the Spine Research institute of San Diego:
- About 3 million Americans sustain whiplash injuries each year
- About 1.5 million Americans suffer chronic pain from whiplash
- About 300,000 of Americans become disabled due to the pain of whiplash
- Most whiplash injuries occur at crash speeds below 12 miles per hour
- There is no correlation between vehicle damage and extent of injury
- Aging significantly increases the risk of whiplash; children have 2/3 the risk of adults
Call Us For Whiplash Treatment In Littleton
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and fear you have a whiplash injury, call our Littleton chiropractic office today for a free consultation. We cannot stress enough how important chiropractic care is immediately following a car accident.
Call us at 303.904.0331 today and ask for a same day appointment or an emergency chiropractic appointment. Our Littleton chiropractors have more than 20 years of experience treating whiplash and working with patients who suffered pain after an auto accident. Our office works with Littleton personal injury attorneys as well as your auto insurance to help make sure you get the best care possible. Call us to learn more.