Whether we’re talking car accidents, each year millions of people in America traumatize the soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles in their neck.
More than 3 million Americans suffer from whiplash every year – and that’s just from vehicle accidents. Whiplash can also be caused by other types of collisions, such as playing sports or falling on the ice.
Car accidents and whiplash seem to go hand in hand, but there are other ways you can get whiplash, including high-impact sports such as snowboarding or skiing. You can also experience whiplash from things like gymnastics, horseback riding, or diving into water.
Some people have experienced whiplash in some kind of “out there” scenarios including:
Even if you don’t suffer from whiplash, you can still have serious neck pain from tech-neck (looking down at phones or tablet), workstations that think ergonomics is a French restaurant term or from a variety of other causes.
Force, we mean. Most people think that you really must be hit hard from front or behind to experience whiplash, but the truth is that it only takes about 5 or 10 mph speeds to get a good enough jolt to give you whiplash.
Regardless of the root cause, there is one thing everyone with whiplash wants to do and that is find out how to get rid of whiplash pain fast!
As your chiropractor in Anchorage, we see patients every day who suffered for weeks with the pain and stiffness of whiplash. After treatment for their whiplash, almost all our patients say that they wish they had come to our clinic sooner!
Many people think that, when it comes to whiplash and neck pain, that they simply must “wait it out”, but this isn’t true.
Especially the older you are, because as you age, your neck and the muscles become less flexible, the discs in the neck are not as flexible, and if you have arthritis
Want the inside story from a chiropractor about how to get rid of whiplash, those sleepless nights, the pain, and get your life back?
We are going to let you in on these little-known secrets, as well as how to sleep at night, so you can finally put your whiplash pain behind you.
As promised, we want to clue you in on some of the little-known secrets for getting rid of whiplash.
Finding relief from the pain is perhaps everyone’s #1 concern. It hurts like the dickens and before you can sleep, you want relief from the pain. That is completely understandable.
If your whiplash is fairly recent, you can start by using Tylenol to help ease the pain. Be very careful with the dosing as too much Tylenol can be harmful and even deadly.
One of the main sources of pain comes from inflammation. There are a variety of anti-inflammatory supplements that you can take to help stop inflammation, thereby limiting pain. Some of the best anti-inflammatory supplements include:
Your Juneau chiropractor can help to determine which of these, or one of the many other types of anti-inflammatory supplements might work best for you and how you should take them. They might also recommend an anti-inflammatory diet.
You can use a neck brace to help relieve some of the pressure from your neck, but don’t use it for more than a few hours a day or for more than 3 or 4 days. Relying on a neck brace will not help the muscles and soft tissues heal, but instead causes them to become weak and even more susceptible to pain.
Ice therapy will be very helpful to you in the first few days after your injury. Use ice packs or cold packs for 15 on, then 15 minutes off for 3 or 4 hours every day. This will help reduce the swelling and offer some much-needed pain relief. Ice will only be effective for 2 or 3 days, then you will need to follow your chiropractor’s treatment plan.
Please take care that you do not to anything that makes the pain worse, no matter how much you might want to. Your neck needs time to recover. If you try to do too much too soon you could make things much worse.
After 2-4 days, with your chiropractor’s approval, you will want to start moving your head and neck.
When dealing with whiplash, you don’t want to keep your head in one position for too long. While the pain might make sitting on the couch or even sitting up in bed sound like a great idea, it is putting undue stress on the affected areas of the neck, and likely make your pain more severe.
Check your posture when sitting. Avoid the typical, head forward, stooped back. Put your back against the backrest and try to find a position that is as comfortable as possible. Look around and make gentle, slow movements so you don’t keep your head in any one position.
While it might sound counter-intuitive, and the last thing you want to do, you need to begin to move your neck and head. While you do not want to rush things, the adage of “use it or lose it” will also apply to your neck. Ask your chiropractor about how much you should move your neck and for what length of time each day.
Moving your neck and head in small increments will help it to slowly recover its lost function and range of motion. Like someone who has broken their leg, although it feels weak and a bit sore at first, they need to move it and exercise the leg again to restore it to its original state.
At Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, we are often asked “What is the best way to sleep with whiplash?”
The answer to this one is different for everyone but some of the best ways to sleep when you have whiplash are:
The best and fastest way to find relief and healing for whiplash is full chiropractic care. While many people think that chiropractors are only there to “crack” your joints, this is simply a long-standing myth.
For those with whiplash, comprehensive chiropractic care will include:
Your chiropractor might also make adjustments to the spine when they feel the time is right, but don’t picture any of those wild movements and cracking noises you often see on videos. Whiplash needs to be handled gently and only when the doctor determines that you will benefit from a mild adjustment.
We’ve included a great many things that you should and can do to help your injury heal faster and prevent pain, now it’s time to talk about the things you should NOT do:
Unfortunately, some people experience chronic headaches or neck pain for years. This is especially true for those with severe whiplash or those who fail to seek treatment quickly. While the pain can sometimes be traced to damaged vertebrae or discs, sometimes, there is no explanation why the pain doesn’t stop.
Seek medical attention right away! Use ice packs to reduce swelling and inflammation. Don’t get discouraged if your pain seems to last longer than you thought it would and don’t listen to others who might try to tell you how long your pain “should” last. Everyone is different. Give your body all the time it wants to heal. Oh- and read secret #7 because it matters!
Whether you believe in the power of positive thinking or not, there is scientific evidence that backs up the power of your thoughts.
In a 2013 study, researchers found that the different approaches people used to deal with their whiplash influenced their recovery time. Those who had more passive means of coping, such as withdrawing from social activities, feeling pity for themselves, and wishing for or trying to obtain “better” pain medication had slower recoveries than those who had positive attitudes and took on feelings of responsibility for their own healing.
One of the problems with whiplash is that people try to go back to work or continue with their everyday lives and don’t give the body proper time to rest and heal. This causes people to adapt to their pain or stiff neck with terrible posture, which only makes matters worse.
In fact, this is such as common problem, doctors have a name for it: hyperlordosis. There are various postures people use to avoid their whiplash pain but generally speaking, patients either jut their heads forward or arch the upper back so the neck and head are in a forward position.
Compensating for your whiplash pain by adopting these bad postures will not only prevent the whiplash from healing properly, but it can create long term neck problems that will develop into chronic pain.
Studies show that receiving proper care and practicing physical therapy exercises early on help patients avoid hyperlordosis.
Acupuncture is not typically recommended for those with whiplash, but when you consider that it can reduce both pain and inflammation, it might be something worth thinking about.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese procedure which involves placing very thin needles in special “energy” points within the muscles to stimulate healing. There are little or no scientific research studies available concerning acupuncture and whiplash, but there are numerous anecdotal reports where patients found relief from pain and stiffness.
Since acupuncture has virtually no side effects, it might be worth a try if you are having complications or if you are having chronic pain issues that haven’t subsided.
We’ve talked a lot here about all types of therapies that address the physical symptoms; chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy, etc. It’s time to spend a few minutes talking about our minds and emotional therapy.
Some people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after a car accident or other type of accident. The psychological stress and issues that result from accidents can’t be seen or measured the way whiplash can, but they are every bit as painful and just as real.
Studies show that about 14% of those involved in a car accident will develop PTSD. You are more likely to develop PTSD after an accident if:
If you find that you are avoiding driving, have anxiety or panic attacks at the thought of driving or getting into a car, or if you are extremely anxious or nervous while driving, you should seek out a qualified therapist.
There are numerous treatments for PTSD that are very effective, including behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and exposure therapy. If you are unsure about which type of therapy you might need, speak to your doctor or chiropractor and ask for a referral.
Whenever the head and neck are injured due to a forceful and rapid back and forth movement, it is often referred to as whiplash. Imagine how a whip moves forward and then snaps back. A similar type of movement causes damage to the tendons, muscles, and other soft tissues.
Whiplash is often associated with car accidents but can actually be caused from other types of mishaps, including rodeo sports, bicycle accidents, skiing and diving.
While whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain if not properly treated, not all chronic neck pain occurs because of whiplash.
Your chiropractor will be the one most suited towards guiding you towards the correct treatment path after determining what is the root cause of your neck pain.
While some might call whiplash a neck strain or even a neck sprain, these terms usually refer to a different type of neck injury.
Apart from obvious neck pain, whiplash symptoms may include:
Most often, with these types of whiplash injuries, pain occurs immediately or is felt within a few days, but sometimes whiplash symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months after an accident.
After a car accident, sports accident, or any type of traumatic injury, it’s important to see your chiropractor right away, especially if you feel any type of neck pain. Your doctor will want to rule out broken bones or severe tissue damage that will need more extensive care.
Don’t worry. If your chiropractor should discover that you need medical intervention that he cannot provide, he will refer you to a health care expert specializing in whatever other treatment you might need.
Unfortunately, yes. While most people will feel better within a few weeks after treatment, some people continue to experience pain and stiffness for months, and sometimes even years, afterwards.
Whiplash injuries can result in chronic neck pain. In a 2016 study, researchers found that nearly 40 percent of people with whiplash still experienced pain and a lower quality of life as much as 5 years after their accident.
Why does this occur to some people and not others? No one is quite sure, although some researchers have suggested that this lingering main might be due more to trauma than actual injury, there are indicators that you might have lingering complications.
Some of the symptoms which indicate that you might have long lasting complications include:
Tell your chiropractor if any of the above symptoms apply to you so that they can provide you with the best possible care.
It absolutely can. In fact, chiropractic care is the superior option when it comes to neck pain. It provides more relief than any other treatment.
Perhaps one of the worst things about whiplash is the pain, which can affect every single aspect of your life. The pain can vary from stabbing, sharp pains to soreness, a constant dull ache, and, usually, an inability to turn the head due to stiffness and the pain it causes.
In one small study, 43% of those with whiplash who received no treatment suffered from long term consequences, however, 93% of patients who had chiropractic care saw significant improvements.
Your local chiropractor, such as our Wasilla chiropractic clinic, is an expert in all things musculoskeletal. This means he is a specialist in the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones. Every whiplash patient is different and your chiropractor will determine exactly what was damaged during your accident and how best to treat you so that you can get your life back!
If you or someone you know is suffering from whiplash or chronic neck pain, please feel free to share this article with them.
If you still have questions, call our office and make a same day appointment. You don’t need to live with the pain of whiplash or neck pain. We offer holistic, non-invasive techniques that are proven to help reduce pain and return you to a full life.