Good day and thanks for checking out my blog. A topic that I mention a lot is when to start with some form of care after a car accident. Especially after a whiplash injury. With or without pain the most important time to start any type of care is almost immediately after the collision. Most of the patients I see immediately after a whiplash injury (within the first three days) are 50% improved within in one month of the injury. The patients I see that wait a month for active care (any care other than just taking muscle relaxants and Vicodin) will usually take at least three months to get up to 50% improved point. Active care is where it is at.
What is active care? Right after the whiplash you are going to be stiff and sore. If you do not move the inflammation is going to pool up in the area, your muscles are going to shorten and tighten and you will loose range of motion (ROM) and have more pain. Active care is simply moving through pain. Now, if you are broken you do not want to move, but only a very small percentage of whiplash victims have spinal fractures that require immobilization. Therefore when you move your head through general neck ROM after a whiplash, do stop when you feel pain! Push through the pain a little.
If you were exercising before the whiplash you can still exercise. Yes, you will need to modify the intensity and type of exercise. But do not stop. This is one area where you may need to consult a doctor for advise.
There a need for some rest. The neck muscles will be strained after a collision and you will have headaches from holding your head up all day. Take time during the day to do some simple neck traction. When sitting take a rolled up towel and place it behind your neck and hold on the towel with both hands in front of you and let your head hand backward. Also take the towel, lay it on the floor and then lay down with the towel behind the neck and your head hanging off the towel.
Here is a link with a picture for the seated towel traction. Although I encourage you to pull down on the towel. http://www.spineandsportspt.org/web_images/dsc_0035.jpg
Chiropractic care is also great for whiplash injuries. The joints of your spine will be injured when the head is being whipped around. The shoulders can be injured from the seatbelt. The low back joints will be injured form the lap portion of the seatbelt as well. Chiropractors are trained to exam the spine and other joints and then aid those injured joints with small manipulations to the spine. The sooner you start with chiropractic care after a collision the better. Don't let those joints on the spine become stiffer and stiffer.
Hope this helps. I am a chiropractor of 21 years here in Everett and treat neck and back pain along with headaches from whiplash injuries on a daily basis. We have a massage therapist on site also.
If you have any questions please give us a call and we will set you up with an appointment as soon as we can.