Whiplash: What is it and What can you do?


Whiplash. Most commonly associated with car accidents, whiplash can occur in a trip and fall or in attempt to catch your balance, playing on a trampoline, riding a horse, sports activities, or experiencing the thrill of a rollercoaster ride! Whiplash is any damage caused to the neck area when a sudden “whip like” action occurs along the spine. In most cases, injuries are to the soft tissues, such as the disks, muscles, and ligaments.  

Symptoms can include tightness and limited mobility to neck, shoulder tension and/ or arm pain, ear ringing, and headache radiating from base of neck. Severe whiplash can cause whole spine pain, nerve pain, dizziness, confusion, and concussion. Symptoms can occur immediately or most commonly, the next day.

Old school treatments were to immobilze with a neck collar and load up on pain killers and muscle relaxers. While there is a time and place for these measures to ensure more serious injuries are not present and to prevent further damage, new research is finding in most cases, gentle movement and ice as soon as possible is best.  For more severe problems, treatment for the three possible levels of spinal damage – muscle, bone, and nerve is appropriate.

Whiplash can involve up to three levels of spinal damage.  The top level is the muscle level and is the most common injury sustained in a whiplash.  The next level is the bone or spine level.  Bone level injuries occur when the whiplash is bad enough for the spinal bones misalign, which causes arthritis later in life. The deepest level is the nerve level of damage.  At this level, the nerves that carry all communication to and from the organs (28 billion impulses per day) are altered – leading to potential health problems.

Things you can do for muscle level damage:

  1. A series of massages eliminates use of pain killers and muscle relaxers that may cause slow recovery time and set up longer term damage. Massage relaxes muscles, breaks up scar tissue and adhesions, releases toxins, as well as stimulating chemicals within your brain to naturally speed up the physical and mental healing process.
  2. Spinal Rehab. Targeted exercises aide in stabilization of an injured or weak area, protecting ligaments and tendons, while stretching increases flexibility and range of motion to cut down on re-injury.
  3. Hot and cold packs. Talk to your doctor before applying hot or cold packs to an injured area to prevent possible inflammation or irritation.

Things you can do for bone and nerve level damage:

  1. Chiropractic Adjustments. Chiropractic care removes nerve interference by correcting spinal misalignment. This helps prevent arthritis and increase nerve flow, restoring proper organ function.  Most chiropractors are specialists in whiplash injuries.  

Going through a whiplash injury is an unpleasant experience, with potential life changing affects.  Visit www.holtchiropractic.net for more information.


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