Whiplash is a common neck injury that often occurs in motor vehicle accidents. The name derives from the motion of the neck that causes this condition, which looks similar to the cracking a whip. These motions push the ligaments and muscles of the neck well beyond normal range of motion, and chiropractic care can be used to treat the condition.
Whiplash and Car Accidents
Whiplash generally occurs when a person’s head is thrust forward and then backwards, resulting in strained ligaments and muscles of the neck. Auto accidents are the most common cause of this problem, especially when rear-end collisions are involved. Other causes may include physical abuse and accidents involving contact sports.
There are a variety of symptoms associated with whiplash, so if you experience any of the following signs after a car accident, you should consult with your physician:
- Pain and tightness in the neck
- Limited range of motion in the head and neck
- Hard and knotted neck muscles
Diagnosing whiplash starts with a visit to your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Several imaging techniques may also be used to aid in the diagnosis:
- X-ray: An X-ray of the neck can rule out other conditions like arthritis, dislocation, and spinal fracture.
- CT Scan: This test uses x-ray imaging from different directions in order to produce detailed images of soft tissues and bones.
- MRI: This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves in order to diagnose injuries of the soft tissue, nerve roots, and spinal cord.
Treating Whiplash with Chiropractic Care
Your doctor may suggest chiropractic care as a treatment method to help you overcome your whiplash pain. Spinal adjustments or manipulation can help to relieve the pain of restricted joints, and doctors of chiropractic can also suggest lifestyle changes and exercises that may also be beneficial in neck pain relief.