Whiplash is a common term used to describe several different kinds of injuries to the spine and neck.  Whiplash occurs when you’re in a situation that makes your head and neck suddenly jerk backward or forward. This places strain on the joints of the neck and the cervical spine. This tension strains the ligaments and muscles supporting the spine and pulls the spinal bones out of alignment. Occasionally, whiplash can extend to your shoulders.

The most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end collision in an automobile. When a car is struck from behind the car is suddenly pushed forward from the force.  The seat pushes the body of the driver forward, but the head lags behind and gets yanked back by the force until it hits the head-rest. This whipping motion causes strain to the neck.  These injuries are more likely in rear impacts because the person is rarely aware they are about to be involved in an auto accident.

Symptoms of whiplash can include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Muscle spasm
  • “Pins and Needles” feeling in the arms
  • Shooting pain into the arms
  • Stiffness
  • Headache

These symptoms can show up days after an accident.  When proper treatment is sought quickly, full recovery is common and is reached more quickly.  Often people put off seeing the doctor expecting that these symptoms will go away with time.  Quite frequently this is not the case and their waiting has caused the problem to advance and become more difficult to resolve.  Even with early treatment, the pain can become chronic in severe cases.

Chiropractic treatment is uniquely suited for whiplash symptoms. Chiropractors are, if anything, spinal specialists. Painkillers and surgery are not the answer for whiplash, these simply cover up the pain for a short time.  When the bones of the spine are aligned properly they glide smoothly past one another without irritation.  When they are out of proper alignment, they create inflammation when you move because they grind against one another versus gliding past one another, this inflammation causes pain and stiffness.  The bones must be realigned and the muscles and ligaments given time and care to heal properly. A series of adjustments can bring far more lasting relief to whiplash sufferers.  These adjustments balance the muscles and ligaments attaching to the spine, allowing your vertebra to resume their natural alignment and decrease irritation to the injured joints.

Even if you have suffered whiplash in the past and the pain is gone, there may still be misalignments in your spine. One of the problems with spinal injuries is that the injuries can be very subtle.  Realigning the spine can bring you to a level of health you’ve long since forgotten.  As we age we blame stiffness, aches and pains on getting older.  In reality, these are typically just the side effect of unresolved prior injuries to ligaments and muscles that pull our spine out of proper alignment.  Over time these misalignments can cause more damage in the form of arthritis due to prolonged imbalance in the joints.  A good analogy is buying new tires, but not getting an alignment performed.  You will typically see the tread wear faster and unevenly.

If you would like to make an appointment with our Fayetteville chiropractor for treatment, give us a call at 910-484-2001 to set up an appointment.  We’ll be glad to listen to your concerns, examine the cause of your symptoms, and explain to you why you are in pain.  We will tell you whether chiropractic treatment is right for you, and if so, what chiropractic can do to make you feel normal and pain-free again.  There’s no reason to suffer from whiplash related injuries.  Ignoring your pain and waiting for it to go away on its own will not resolve the underlying problem.  Get the care your body needs and get well.

Dr. Joshua McDowell

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