I will see it about one time a week. A patient will come in to my office, I am a chiropractor of almost 20 years, and they cannot move their neck. I will soon find out that the patient was in a car accident, whiplash type, about a week earlier. They were taken to the ER on a back board and in a neck brace. X-rays were taken while on the board and were negative for fracture or dislocation. The patient was sent home with pain killers, muscle relaxers and Ibuprofen and told to rest and use ice for two days then heat. The patient will take this to mean, "don't move and start with heat immediately." With each passing day the pain increases and the range of motion of the neck (cervical spine) decreases. The patient will think that if they continue to rest the pain will go away. About a week into this when they can no longer sleep, look over the shoulder to back up the car or be on the computer for ten minutes they show up to a chiropractors office.
Whiplash and the pain in the neck and upper back that follows is not an easy condition to treat and the pain will usually not go away by itself. Whiplash requires a lot of education and a lot of home care. I have written other blogs on how to do home care, such as ice for the first few weeks, no heat, general range of motion exercises for the neck and shoulders, limit rest, gentle home traction with a rolled up towel, general exercise, chiropractic care and massage. The longer you wait for any of this care, the longer you will be in pain and the longer your healing time will be.
Why massage? Massage therapy after a car accident and whiplash is vital. This will increase blood flow to the area to help pump out the inflammation, break down scar tissue that is forming, elongate the muscles so you do not loose the range of motion and help ease the pain. Many patients after a whiplash will also develop a posture where their head is forward and this will effect breathing which will create headaches. Massage will also help in this arena to re position the head and help the tight muscles in the neck, upper back and ribs so you can breath better.
This is a short amount of information in regard to whiplash and chiropractic care. My chiropractic office is in Everett Wa and I treat whiplash victims daily. If you need care or just some advice concerning your whiplash and subsequent neck and back pain please give us a call and we will get you in as soon as you can come in.
Advanced Chiropractic, 425/353/7246