Also known as a neck sprain or neck strain, whiplash is a soft-tissue neck injury that happens when your head is suddenly and forcefully thrown backward then forward. By experiencing such unexpected force, whiplash can harm the muscles, nerves, ligaments, vertebrae, and disks in the neck and spine. Whiplash often occurs during rear-end car accidents, sports accidents, or other trauma, and is characterized by a number of symptoms that either develop immediately or shortly after the initial injury or impact, including:

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Loss of range of motion (in the neck or shoulders)
  • Blurred vision
  • Shoulder and back tenderness and pain
  • Myofascial injuries (injuries to ligaments and muscles located in the neck)

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Car accidents are a common cause of whiplash, which is why PC Medical Centers has undergone advanced chiropractic training to better diagnose and treat patients suffering from accident or whiplash-related injuries. When treating traumatic injuries or those caused by the body experiencing a sudden force, it’s critical for your chiropractor to conduct a full-body assessment and a thorough evaluation while paying close attention to the strength and health of your joint capsules, spinal ligaments, and intervertebral discs, as those can all be seriously injured without the presence of any symptoms. With this in mind, PC Medical Centers spends time understanding how your injury occurred and is dedicated to identifying the root cause of your pain, rather than just treating the symptoms of your injury.

What is whiplash treatment?

The treatment of whiplash depends on what symptoms are present and their severity. One of the most important aspects of whiplash treatment is educating the patient about their injury. This includes information on the cause, treatment plan and likely outcomes (prognosis). While whiplash should always be taken seriously, the majority of patients have the ability to fully recover. Patients who are not educated with this information are much more likely to develop chronic complications, such as whiplash associated disorder.

Past treatments for whiplash included a soft cervical collar that was to be worn for several weeks. These collars were designed to limit the neck’s range of motion in order to prevent any further exacerbation. However, recent studies have shown that the prolonged immobilization provided by cervical collars can actually prolong the healing process. Early range of motion is usually recommended if there is no evidence of abnormal spinal alignment.

Patients have been shown to have a more reliable and rapid improvement in their symptoms when they are involved in early range of motion exercises. This type of physical therapy typically involves rotational exercises and can be performed as soon as symptoms allow an increase in range of motion. Excessive rest and immobilization have been shown to increase the risk of chronic symptoms, which is explained by loss of range of motion leading to increased pain and stiffness. Immobilization can also cause muscle atrophy (degeneration), decreased blood flow, and can cause damaged muscles to heal in shortened positions, rendering them less flexible.

In more severe cases of whiplash, cognitive or psychological conditions such as fatigue, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), difficulty concentrating, memory loss or insomnia may occur. The severity of your whiplash and the risk of experiencing these symptoms is often determined by whether or not your head was turned during the moment of impact, as well as if you suffered from blunt force head trauma during your accident. Here at PC Medical Centers, we are committed to not just relieving your pain, reducing muscular tension and improving your range of motion, but ultimately helping you become a happier, healthier you after treatment.

If you are suffering from whiplash or any of the symptoms mentioned above, call us today at (573) 335-9188 to schedule your appointment.