Just a couple weeks ago I had a very familiar new type of patient come in the office. Her car accident, whiplash was last November. About 8 months ago. She went to the ER right after the collision and was told to take muscle relaxants, Vicodin, and to rest for a couple weeks. Avoid activity that increases pain and if she is not doing good in a couple weeks seek out her medical doctor. She followed this advise and in the two weeks after the whiplash she was worse. The MD prescribed physical therapy, but very light and more medication. She did this for the next six months and although the severe initial pain did lessen, her overall neck, upper back and low back pain along with the headaches did not go away. "Sometimes they were worse," according to her. Also her normal life activities were greatly hindered by the pain and she was gaining weight due to the pain and lack of exercise.
I see this all the time! Unfortunately for this young lady it did take extra time to help her. Waiting so long before starting a good active care program with aggressive home stretches, adjustments to the joints that were injured, a general home exercise program using a therapy ball and deep tissue massage, greatly slowed down her healing. She does understand that the wait led her to have more scar tissue in the injured areas. Scar tissue heals with a blood supply and an increased nerve supply. It is also less elastic and has a tendency to be re-injured easily. Chiropractic care can help reduce scar tissue and if care is started quickly the care in a chiropractors office and greatly decrease this scar tissue.
If you are reading this blog right after your whiplash type injury and you have headaches, neck pain, upper back or low back pain. Or even shoulder pain, now is the best time to start care. Your care will consist of specific chiropractic adjustments to injured joints, education about your injury, a home stretching and exercise program, massage therapy and education on how you can help your healing at home.
If you are reading this long after your whiplash, do not be too discouraged. There is still help and hope for you. Although the help may take a little longer. Ultimately I like to see patients come in about four weeks after their car accident and tell me they are 50% improved in all areas.
If you or someone you know has been in a car accident and think they may have whiplash please give us a call or have them call us. I have been in practice for 20 years and most of my patients are whiplash type patients.