Receive quality chiropractic care at our West Windsor, NJ, Clinic. Call (609) 799-8444 for an appointment.
Whiplash is a common injury car accident victims sustain due to the rapid back-and-forth movement of their necks during a collision. Seeing a chiropractor for whiplash pain and neck stiffness remains the best way to alleviate the pain and regain a full range of motion within the neck. The short-term, acute pain whiplash causes can also stem from a neck muscle sprain or tear, but how can a chiropractor help?
Align Health & Wellness serves as a leading West Windsor, NJ, chiropractor that regularly receives patients experiencing the effects of a whiplash injury. We have decades of experience helping patients reclaim their wellness, range of motion, and ability to live pain-free lives through careful chiropractic treatment.
Below, we share more details about whiplash, how it affects the neck, and what chiropractic care can do for the injury.
Common Symptoms and Signs of Whiplash
Car accidents rank as the most common cause of whiplash, but they are not the only source of the condition’s development. You could also experience whiplash riding fast rollercoasters, falling suddenly, or playing high-impact sports.
The two primary signs of whiplash include neck pain and restricted movement due to stiffness. Those signs may not develop until 24 hours after sustaining the injury. Also, note the other symptoms of the condition, such as:
- Extreme fatigue
- Headaches near the back of the head and neck
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pain in the upper arms or shoulders
- Persistent dizziness
Though whiplash represents a common injury, it can range in severity. You might not experience all its symptoms before receiving treatment.
Whiplash Diagnosis From a Chiropractor
A chiropractor for whiplash begins treatment by diagnosing the condition. The evaluation includes a thorough spine assessment, even if you only experience neck pain. Sometimes, other areas of the spine could have issues due to an accident, fall, or hit that you might not recognize without a proper examination.
During the exam, the chiropractor will check your neck’s range of motion and take note of ligament injuries, muscle tension, spasms, or intervertebral disc injuries, like disc herniation. The healthcare professional will also check for tenderness or tightness in your neck. Most of the diagnostic techniques that chiropractors use involve touch, but they may also watch how you walk to observe your posture and movement.
Collecting your medical history and performing diagnostic tests helps the chiropractor understand your spine and how it correlates to your body, its movements, and your pain. Sometimes, chiropractors need a deeper understanding of your spine and neck, so they may order diagnostic imaging like X-rays or an MRI to see your bones and soft tissues.
All the information the chiropractor for whiplash collects helps the professional develop an effective, personalized chiropractic treatment plan.
How Chiropractic Treatment Helps Whiplash Injuries
The top specialty of chiropractors involves spinal manipulation, a common treatment for whiplash. The chiropractic technique of spinal manipulation applies pressure to misaligned areas of the spine, which sometimes occurs with whiplash. Properly realigning the spine helps alleviate pain without medication.
When treating whiplash, some chiropractors use the flexion-distraction spinal manipulation method. The technique uses slow, methodical manipulation to realign discs in the neck instead of applying quick, direct force to the painful area. The flexion-distraction approach also treats bulging or herniated discs using a soft pumping motion on the affected disc.
Specific Spinal Manipulation
During your initial assessment, the chiropractor may identify restricted spinal joints or abnormal motions. A chiropractor can use specific spinal manipulation to address both issues by applying a gentle thrusting motion to the affected area.
Specific spinal manipulation helps trigger the nervous system to restore your range of motion while the chiropractor stretches the soft tissues around the area. It also realigns the spine.
The most common treatment for whiplash is muscle stimulation. The hands-on practice treats muscle dysfunction through relaxation. Muscle stimulation uses gentle neck stretches to work tense muscles and relieve spasms that cause muscle movement restriction.
Occasionally, tight muscles do not warrant a gentle approach. In that case, a chiropractor for whiplash treatment may employ a more rigorous stretch with gentle finger pressure on the tight muscles to ease discomfort.
Soft Tissue Therapies
Whiplash sometimes involves the cervical spine in the neck, but it always affects soft tissues in the neck. Soft tissue therapies help your neck muscles restore their function and range of motion using pressure to stretch the tense muscles.
One of the most common soft tissue therapies chiropractors use involves therapeutic massage. Though the massage will feel comforting and relaxing, it also offers an effective way to relieve tension.
Chiropractic care for whiplash usually requires hands-on treatment. However, chiropractors sometimes use specialized hand-held equipment to apply force to an affected spinal region without creating a thrusting motion.
A standard instrument-assisted therapy is the Graston technique. It uses an instrument to address soft tissue injuries using gentle, repeated strokes. This form of treatment works well for managing whiplash pain and providing comfort to older adults with joint degeneration.
Whiplash Treatment at Home
Chiropractic whiplash treatment doesn’t stop after you leave your local chiropractic clinic. Continuous care plays a critical role when recovering from soft tissue and spinal injuries.
Your chiropractor will likely recommend at-home treatments or exercises to help your injury heal without putting undue strain on your muscles. Whiplash pain and discomfort can affect your work, home, and recreational activities. Learning the right way to care for yourself at home during whiplash treatment will help you avoid further damage to your neck.
Alleviate Neck Pain With a Chiropractor Today
Scheduling appointments with a chiropractor for whiplash is one of the best ways to improve your neck pain and flexibility. At Align Health & Wellness, our chiropractic team specializes in non-invasive rehabilitation to help patients recover from injuries and chronic pain without surgical intervention or medication. As West Windsor’s trusted physical therapy clinic, we tailor all treatments to each person’s needs.
Our doctors accept PIP and no-fault insurance for whiplash injuries after a car accident. Contact Align Health & Wellness today at (609) 799-8444 to request an appointment. Same-day appointments may be available.