A common chiropractic injury after a car accident is whiplash. This condition, also known as neck sprain or strain, occurs when the neck moves in a rapid backward and forward motion. This quick movement pulls on the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and the damage to these tissues may require the intervention of a chiropractor. These doctors specialize in the care of the spine and its ability to impact the nerves and muscles that work throughout the body. The region of the neck, known as the cervical region, is the area most vulnerable to the effects of whiplash, but the injury can impact more than just this area of the body.
Chiropractic care and whiplash therapy options
Based on the severity of the injury, whiplash symptoms can range from headaches at the base of the skull to blurred vision and dizziness. Some whiplash symptoms resolve on their own, but more chronic symptoms may require special treatments from a chiropractor.
Therapeutic massage, also referred to as trigger point therapy, requires the chiropractor to localize the area of discomfort. Once the area of tension is located, the chiropractor can apply pressure to ease the strain in the muscles. By relieving the muscle stiffness, the joints within the neck can be adjusted more easily.
Spinal manipulation is a common technique in chiropractic medicine. With this method, the doctor uses a controlled forceful action to manipulate areas of the spine. After positioning a patient, the chiropractor locates which joints between the vertebrae of the neck are causing the most pain. Using a thrusting motion directly onto the spine, the chiropractor can stretch the muscles in the neck to relieve discomfort and restore normal range of motion.
Unlike spinal manipulation, which requires forceful thrusting, the flexion-distraction technique is a gentler method to ease discomfort. The patient is placed face down on a special chiropractic table, which gradually flexes and extends the back in a rhythmic fashion. This slow, pulsing manipulation helps to relieve any herniated discs, which can be a common result of whiplash.
Using the heat generated by ultrasound waves, this chiropractic treatment can alleviate inflammation caused by whiplash. The method works by increasing blood circulation in the damaged muscles, which in turn, decreases pain and improves healing capabilities within the body.
Interferential electrical stimulation
Using technology similar to a TENS unit, interferential electrical stimulation directs a low frequency current of electricity through the impacted muscles, forcing them to contract. Contraction within the muscles can increase blood circulation. Like ultrasound therapy, it can also decrease inflammation and improve motion in the region.
While whiplash symptoms may not be evident immediately after a car accident, chiropractic medicine can help when they do arise. Therapy for the chronic management of whiplash can not only decrease the symptoms associated with the injury, but with the right techniques, patients can see a return to normal habits and routines without discomfort.
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