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Thousands of Americans suffer from whiplash injuries every single year. Although often minor, many whiplash injuries do unfortunately lead to chronic pain that requires medication and reduces quality of life. Some common problems associated with whiplash include:
- Sporadic muscle pulls and spasms
- Restriction in neck movement
- Constant throbbing along with stiffness
- Physical numbness
- Irregular sleeping patterns accompanied by exhaustion
- Reduced, blurry eyesight
How A Chiropractor Diagnoses Whiplash Injuries
When diagnosing a whiplash injury, your chiropractor will analyze the entire spine even if you only complain of acute neck pain after a blunt force trauma. This is due to the fact that other regions of the spine may be impacted in a whiplash injury. The chiropractor will pinpoint areas of intervertebral disc injury, restricted joint motion, ligament injury, and muscle spasm. They may also employ a technique known as motion-and-static palpation, which uses touch to feel for tightness, tenderness, and the way your spinal joints move. In addition to observing your posture and movements and feeling for joint/muscle function, they may also order an X-ray or MRI of your spine to look for pre-existing degenerative changes, which they also take into consideration when coming up with the best course of treatment.
Treating Whiplash With Chiropractic Care
The severity of each individual case will dictate the course of treatment. Chiropractors commonly use spinal manipulation to treat whiplash. Here are some common spinal manipulation techniques used to treat whiplash:
- Instrument-assisted manipulation: This is a non-thrusting technique that uses a specialized hand-held instrument to apply force to the spine. This can be helpful for older patients with a degenerative joint syndrome.
- Flexion-distraction technique: This is another gentle, non-thrusting kind of spinal manipulation to assist with treating herniated discs with or without accompanying arm pain. As your whiplash injury potentially may have aggravated a herniated or bulging disc, the chiropractor will employ a slow pumping action on the disc rather than direct force to the spine.
- Specific spinal manipulation: After identifying restricted spinal joints that display abnormal motion (known as subluxations), the chiropractor helps to restore motion to the joint through a gentle thrusting technique that stimulates the nervous system and stretches soft tissue.
Along with spinal manipulation, the chiropractor may also employ manual therapy for treating ligaments and muscles. Some common types of manual therapies used by chiropractors include:
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques like muscle energy therapy
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy such as the Graston technique, applying gentle repeated strokes with an instrument over the injured area
- Trigger point therapy, where a chiropractor pinpoints specific hypertonic (tight) points of a muscle and applies direct pressure on these points to ease muscle tension
- Therapeutic massage to ease muscle tension in the neck
Some other therapies your chiropractor may use to reduce neck inflammation include ultrasound and interferential electrical stimulation.
Contact Us Today
Chiropractic techniques can effectively diagnose and treat whiplash without the need of pharmaceuticals or invasive treatment. Prevention is ultimately the key to long-term recovery and good health, and along with the techniques listed above, your chiropractor may also prescribe therapeutic exercises to do on your own at home. Call Jimenez Chiropractic-Med Spa to schedule an appointment for your whiplash injury today!