People suffering from whiplash injuries often seek out relief from their doctors. However, since whiplash affects the spine, a visit to a chiropractor can also be beneficial. Here are three things a chiropractor can do to help treat whiplash so you can move around more comfortably.
Although different people experience whiplash injuries in different ways, damage to the muscles and tissues supporting the neck and spine is fairly common. This can lead to pain and stiffness that make it difficult to move the head and neck, limiting the range of movement and increasing the risk of spinal dysfunction in some cases.
One way a chiropractor can alleviate this type of discomfort and promote healing is through the use of various muscle manipulation techniques. This typically involves a combination of massaging, stretching, and pressing the affected areas using the hands or a medical device to either stimulate or relax the muscles.
Over time, muscle manipulation can reduce pain and tightness which, in turn, can make it easier for patients to move their heads and necks. The number of sessions required to see results depends on the severity of the injury, however, so it's best to consult with a chiropractor who can provide you with a more accurate timeline based on your specific needs.
Electricity and Ultrasound Therapy
While many chiropractors use their hands for some of their treatments, it's also common for them to use a variety of medical devices to supplement their efforts. For example, the doctor may use an instrument that applies a mild electrical current to the site of the injury for a short period of time.
Called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), this type of therapy uses electricity to stimulate the nerves and muscles in an effort to reduce pain by triggering the body's natural pain relief mechanisms, such as releasing endorphins. This therapy also reduces inflammation, which can promote healing.
If the injury is severe enough, the doctor may use a device that applies ultrasound waves to the affected site. The sound waves create heat that penetrates deep into the body's tissues to improve circulation and reduce tension and pain as well as decrease muscle spasms.
Both of these devices are painless, and there is little to no risk of addiction or side effects as is often the case with medication. However, even these devices aren't appropriate for all patients, so be sure to discuss any health issues that could be affected by the use of sound or electricity — such as heart disease — with the chiropractor before agreeing to undergo the treatment.
Whiplash can cause direct injury to the spine, which is what makes this type of injury so dangerous. Spinal damage can lead to a number of health consequences if not treated properly, such as chronic headaches and partial or full paralysis. Thus, one of the first things the chiropractor will do is diagnose what damage — if any — has occurred to the spine and the severity and use a variety of spinal manipulation techniques to treat them.
For example, the doctor may perform subluxations, which are a variety of techniques used to manually adjust the spine. These are often used to treat herniated or bulging discs to reduce inflammation. However, subluxations are also used to reposition spinal joints that may have become misaligned during the event that caused the whiplash.
There are many other treatments a chiropractor can use to treat whiplash injuries including recommending lifestyle changes that could help alleviate pain and improve mobility. If you're suffering from whiplash injuries, make an appointment with a local chiropractor to see what your whiplash treatment options are for healing from them.