Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs in accidents or sudden impacts. Whiplash is a painful condition because it causes major strain on the soft tissues in the neck area, including the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Whiplash also forces the neck vertebrae out of place, causing misalignment. As a result, whiplash can be extremely painful and may also include other symptoms like stiffness and range of motion problems.
Whiplash is caused by collisions or very sharp movements. It is most commonly seen in car accidents, but it may also happen on the sports field or even on an amusement park ride like a roller coaster. When an impact or a very sudden movement occurs, the body is launched forward. It then moves backward automatically, forcing the head and neck to make an extreme snapping motion called hyperextension. This unusual motion forces the head and neck beyond their usual limits. While the neck and head will quickly return to their proper position, the damage done during those few moments of hyperextension can be severe.
The pain associated with whiplash can go away on its own over time. However, the effects on the spine will not go away on its own, i.e. misalignment, aberrant motions, muscle tension, and others. In fact, people who don't seek treatment for their whiplash will often end up having progressively worse pain and stiffness, and they may even end up with a permanent injury.
The ultimate aim of chiropractic treatment is to restore the patient's range of motion while alleviating pain. The chiropractor will work to restore the patient to their pre-whiplash health. The specific treatments can vary according to the issues that the patient is experiencing. Spinal alignment is generally a central part of whiplash treatment. They include gentle movements that will correct misalignments and make the patient more comfortable very quickly. Physical therapy treatments including myofascial release, massage, stretching, moist heat therapy, cold pack therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, and specific exercise regimens can also help.
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