Have you been in a car accident? When you have a rear end collision, you’ll likely end up with neck pain as a result. This sprain and strain of the area is commonly referred to as “whiplash.”
Once you’ve determined that there are no life-threatening injuries, whiplash treatment should be at the top of your priority list. Some people mistake being told “everything is fine” at the emergency room as a signal that there are no injuries from the car crash.
In reality, the emergency room doctors have life-threatening problems as their top priority. They will also be looking for injuries that are more substantial, such as a fracture or something that might need to be sewn back together.
Whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, and other than putting you in a neck brace, chances are they are going to just tell you to rest for a few days and contact someone should your condition not improve. Being told you should “go home and rest” is not an effective whiplash treatment.
When visiting our office following a car accident and experiencing whiplash symptoms, we will also look for anything life threatening (especially if you did not go to the emergency room or have not been evaluated by another healthcare professional).
Once you’re clear to receive chiropractic care, our treatments will center around realigning the spine and additional therapeutic modalities to help reduce inflammation and spasm. At home, we will want you to take it easy for at least a few days, perhaps take some over the counter medications and use ice.
The reason we are so interested in realigning the spine following an injury is due to scar tissue. Your body heals with scar tissue, nothing you can do to stop or change that. It takes approximately three weeks for scar tissue to set up around the injured area.
If the scar tissue sets up around a spine that is relatively close to the correct alignment, we’ve found that the patients will have less symptoms that are long lasting. It’s when the spine was never adjusted following a traumatic injury that we find the scar tissue becomes a hindrance to a full recovery.
Patients will say things like “My neck has never been the same since that accident.” We don’t want your injuries to become problems that follow you around the rest of your life. Getting into to a chiropractor’s office soon after sustaining an injury can mean the difference between a full recovery and a nagging complaint that never quite seems to go away.
The Spine Research Institute of San Diego has been ground breaking in its evaluation of whiplash, particularly injuries sustained from low impact collisions.