What is whiplash?
A Whiplash injury is defined as any sudden acceleration or deceleration of the neck, head and supporting structures that result in over-stretching/tearing combined with over-contraction of fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs and surrounding tissues and organs, nerves or vascular structures etc..
What are the most common symptoms following a whiplash injury?
Symptoms associated with this type of injury may be of sudden onset or may take a few days to settle in. (If asked at the time of the accident if you are hurt, best answer is either yes or I don’t know) You may experience mild to severe pain in one or more areas of the spine, head or extremities. There will be an increase in inflammation, and varying degrees of soreness, stiffness, headache, radiating pain, or you may feel irritable, emotionally upset, tired, and have difficulty sleeping. Consult with your M.D. if you are experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness, ringing in the ears, light-headedness, severe jaw pain or clicking, numbness, loss of sensation, difficulty swallowing, or nausea
How long does the body take to repair itself following a whiplash injury?
It takes one year and in some cases 2 years for soft tissues injuries to fully heal.
There are three distinct phases of healing with
recommended treatment protocols.
Acute inflammatory phase
Duration: approximately 72 hours
Character: The tissues are painful, inflamed, hyper-mobile
Treatment; rest, ice, immobility, light massage to move fluids out
Duration: from 72 hours to 6-8 weeks
Character: The torn sites begin to form scars (tissue begins to stiffen, adhesions form)
Treatment: Heat followed by ice, deeper massage, chiropractic adjustments, stretching, some mild strengthening
Duration: up to 2 years
Character: collagen protein glues (scar tissue) begins to remodel in the direction of the sprain/strain. The fibers become stronger and attempt to align in a more regular pattern. The tissue begins to regain strength and flexibility.
Treatment: Heat, deep tissue massage, chiropractic adjustments. stretching and strengthening exercises. Treatment aimed at minimizing adhesions, maximizing alignment and well being.
What is the cause of residual symptoms?
Microscopic studies show that scar tissue is functionally different from the adjacent normal tissue in the following ways; the scar tissue is aligned differently and due to this misalignment and the resultant adhesions, the tissue is weaker and less mobile. Also, there is an increase in the amount of nerve fibers thus making this repaired tissue more sensitive.
How does a chiropractic physician treat whiplash injuries?
The effect of chiropractic adjustments is two-fold in its nature; one is to mobilize areas that lost mobility, minimizing adhesions and the other is to reduce pain and calm the nervous system with by stimulating spinal joint (mechano-receptors). Some Chiropractors may also use modalities such as massage, heat, ice, ultrasound, electric stimulation or lasers.
Why are many people that are involved in whiplash injuries dismissed by medical doctors?
In most cases these injuries are limited to soft tissue structures. When this is the case, there is no evidence of the injury as seen on x-rays. In the first 24 hours of the injury the patient can often move their neck fully and may have minimal pain no neurological symptoms. When this is the case they will be dismissed and sent home with medications and no recommendation for continued treatment. In some case you will be referred to a Physical Therapist. Chiropractic and Physical therapy combined help maximize the healing process.
If regular x-rays cannot document current spinal trauma what can?
Magnetic resonance imaging MRI, is the most common diagnostic procedure used primarily to determine the degree and exact location of tissue damage. However, this is a very costly and time consuming test that can be inaccurate. Hands on palpation of the effected area by a Chiropractic physician skilled in the art of palpation can accurately assess the extent of soft tissue and joint injury.
Are alternative treatments such Chiropractic, Therapeutic massage, and Acupuncture covered by my insurance?
Many private insurance plans severely limit or do not compensate you for complimentary and alternative medicines.
It is a common misconception that if you have auto insurance that this insurance includes medical benefits (Med-pay). Often, this is not the case. Discovering this at the time of injury is not what you want. Call your agent and find out if you have medical benefits as a part of your auto insurance policy today. Having it will save you countless hours of hassle and stress if you find yourself in a car accident.
It is highly recommended that your car insurance policy include medical benefits up to $10,000 if not more. This will cover some or all of your medical costs depending on your Med-pay plan.
In cases where there is one or more other vehicles involved and you are not at fault, the person that is deemed the at fault driver (third party) is ultimately responsible for your medical bills. They are not obligated and will not pay these bills until you have completed all medical treatment.
If you want alternative healing therapies such as Chiropractic, Massage or Acupuncture these will be out of pocket expenses unless your current health insurance provider pays for these services. When this is not the case its good to know that your Med-pay will pay for the healing modalities.
Whiplash injuries are not something to be taken lightly and can have long lasting effects that if not addressed can lead to premature spinal degeneration. Get the care you need. Your sp