When discussing whiplash treatment, many people are often confused by the term “whiplash”. Whiplash is considered a non-medical term for a sprain/strain injury of the neck, which often occurs after an abrupt jerking motion of the head backwards and then forward commonly after car accidents. The technical mechanics of what happens is the result of an acceleration/deceleration of the vehicle due to the force- many times a rear end collision. A neck injury of this type can result in many different types of symptoms and can appear immediately or even days after the initial injury. Treating whiplash requires patience, knowledge, and appropriate decision making. For the bureaucratic side of things, many times a good personal injury attorney can help you figure out the claim and insurance information. If you are properly insured (and most are in the Denver metro, Lakewood and littleton, Colorado area) you will have what is called “med pay”, usually around $5,000 and it allows you to obtain medical care that is appropriate for your injuries. Unlike some insurance policies for regular health care you can choose who you want to see without any gatekeeper or ‘network’ of providers. Back to whiplash treatment terminology…the term whiplash describes the actual mechanism of injury rather than the nature of the injury. Whiplash treatment is the type of care administered once the injury is classified as a whiplash associated disorder (WAD).
Whiplash Treatment: The Injury
Most whiplash injuries occur in car accidents where the person injured is rear-ended by another vehicle and pushed forwards. In this type of accident, the head lags slightly behind the neck while the car is being pushed forward resulting in extension of the neck. The head is then thrown forwards where excessive flexion of the neck results. As the body falls back as the car decelerates from being pushed forward, the head is flung backwards again, resulting in further injury. The severity of the injury can be determined by a few factors at the time of the accident:
The posture of the driver at the time of the accident. For example, if the driver was looking to the side.
The force of the impact and amount of muscle tension.
The angle of the headrest.
The angle of the seat.
The height of the patient.
The speed of the vehicles involved.
The road conditions.
And many more (which will have en effect on not only your symptoms but your whiplash treatment)…
As you can see, there are many factors which play a part in the severity of the injury. This is why the speed of the impact and amount of damage done to the vehicle alone cannot determine the severity of the injury. There is a lot of evidence that shows that occupants can, contrary to the opinion of insurance companies, be injured in low impact accidents. I have seen many in my clinic and I have been involved in several. Click here for a .
Whiplash Treatment: Symptoms
If you find yourself asking, “Do I have whiplash?” Understand this…symptoms of whiplash play a very important role in diagnosing and treating the underlying cause of a sprain/strain neck or back injury. A wide range of symptoms can result from a “whiplash” type injury and can vary widely from person to person in both type and severity. A common symptom of a sprain/strain neck injury is a deep, dull pain, which worsens upon movement. Other symptoms of a whiplash injury include:
Pain in the shoulders or between the shoulder blades
Pain or numbness in the arm
Although these are some of the common symptoms that may warrant whiplash treatment, you could experience symptoms other than those on the above list of symptoms. Some people experience nausea or fatigue or even feel like they have a cold. Your overall state of health definitely has a lot to do with how your body will experience and manifest symptoms. If you experience any symptoms or have new symptoms that concern you, seek care as soon as possible.
Here is a list of injuries that can occur after an injury that may require whiplash treatment:
Single and multiple cranial nerve palsies
Peripheral neuropathy (numbing and weakness)
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Herniation of cervical discs
Rupture or tearing of ligaments and soft tissues
Spinal cord injuries
Brain injury concussions or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)
Damage to the posterior cervical sympathetic nerves
Tremor and movement disorders
Occipital neuralgia (back of head pain)
Low back pain
Most symptoms and signs of whiplash injuries can greatly benefit from immediate care. Some injuries are best remedied in the emergency room and some are best managed actively yet conservatively. Once the emergency and dangerous or life threatening injuries are either addressed or ruled out, due to the damage to the muscles and surrounding tissues, it is important to seek care to minimize the severity of your discomfort and to facilitate the repair, regeneration and remodeling of the injured soft-tissues. Treatment options usually include electrical stimulation (EMS) to relax the musculature and release excess tension, chiropractic adjustments, and K-Laser to reduce inflammation and heal the damage faster. I’ve seen statistics that say there are over 16,000 police reported car accidents each day. I have seen a fair amount of them near my home in Littleton near Ken Caryl, on my way to work in Lakewood and throughout the highway, street and even parking lots of Denver!
Here is a list of whiplash treatment options (once dangerous and life threatening injuries have been ruled out) at our complimentary and alternative clinic near Denver :
Manual chiropractic adjustments
Computerized (Proadjuster) or instrument chiropractic adjustments
Class IV Laser Therapy (K-laser)
Anti-inflammatory diet and supplements (Esterified fatty acids and proteolytic enzymes)
Spinal Decompression Therapy (DRX9000 and other decompression machines)
Electrical Physiotherapy (interferential or e-stim current or micro-current)
Med-x Core Spinal Fitness machines for post-traumatic rehabilitation.
Home exercises for whiplash, neck pain and/or low back pain
Active Release Therapy (ART)
Being proactive at helping the body heal is highly advised. As you can see, there are plenty of whiplash treatment options available.