Whiplash is a common condition experienced by people involved in car accidents and other impact-related incidents.
Whiplash is the most common injury that occurs during after car accidents, but this neck trauma can be caused in several other ways as well. Sports injuries, roller coaster rides or general trips and falls can also cause whiplash.
At Austin Chiropractic & Rehab in Austin TX, we regularly treat patients affected by whiplash. Understanding the cause of this problem and what treatments have been most effective can help patients seek out the right kind of care for their needs.
When Does Whiplash Occur?
Whiplash occurs most commonly when one vehicle is struck by another. When this occurs, thousands of pounds of force are exerted upon the neck and spine of the passengers. The painful result is an injury to the muscles, ligaments, nerves and sometimes even fracture.
When a bone is broken, it heals with bone and becomes stronger than before. Soft tissue heals with scar tissue that is less elastic, weaker and more pain sensitive. It never returns to its original state when injured.
This acute phase of care is designed to reduce inflammation and provide gentle ROM to help restore the soft tissues to their maximum.
Your doctor or nearby chiropractor will choose a technique for you that is gentle and effective.
What Are The Symptoms of Whiplash?
Auto accidents and trauma are a common cause of misalignment of your upper two neck vertebrae creating a potential “CHOKE” point. This can result in a decrease in circulation and nerve function to your brain.
If you have had a motor vehicle accident and are experiencing the following symptoms, you may have whiplash:
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder pain
- Pain between your Shoulders
- TMJ or Jaw pain
- Blurred Vison & Vertigo
- Ringing in your Ears
- Low Back Pain
More symptoms include:
•Ringing in the ears
•Lower back pain
•Pain radiating up the neck and into the scalp
•Radiating pain into your arms and/or legs
•Tingling and numbness into the arms, hands, legs or feet
•Short term memory problems
•Irritability and/or depression
•Cold hands or feet
•Shortness of breath
•Ache all over
•Any change from pre-accident condition
What Kind of Diagnostic Testing is Used in Whiplash Injuries?
Radiographs are relatively inexpensive and can help to rule out serious injury. According to Dr. McHone, “I have seen numerous patients that suffered fractures of their sternum, TMJ, cervical and lumbar spine. Motion X-rays allow the doctor to see ligamentous tearing and instability. Swelling is also seen on X-rays and is associated with severe injury. Studies document that 70% of whiplash injuries are associated with loss of cervical curve."
Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis
Spinal Ligament Injuries are the number one cause of pain and disability. CRMA evaluates soft tissue injuries through x-ray measurement.
Each of the nerves leaving the spinal column innervates specific areas of the skin, thus dividing the body into a patterned form known as dermatomes. There are eight cervical, twelve thoracic, five lumbar, and five sacral dermatomes. Spinal Misalignment and soft tissue injury creates a heat reading at the injured site.
- Adjunctive Therapies
- Interferential reduces pain inflammation and swelling
- Intersegmental Mobilization
- Cox Flexion Distraction technique that reduces the disc pressure and relieves low back pain
•Improves muscle activation and adds support the joints
•Improves blood and lymphatic circulation and reduces inflammation and excess chemical buildup in the tissue
•Stabilizes Injured joints
What Are Some Home Care Instructions?
•Avoid activities that increase your pain
•Practice an anti-inflammatory diet
•Avoid sugar and alcohol
What is the Long-Term Prognosis?
The literature suggest that 43% of whiplash patients suffer long-term symptoms. If patients are symptomatic after 3 months, there’s almost a 90% chance they will remain so. Studies have shown that benefits with chiropractic can occur in over 90% of patients undergoing chiropractic treatment for whiplash.
What are the Factors Increasing the Risk of Acute Injury?
2.Females weighing less than 130 lbs. in frontal crashes
4.History of prior neck injury
5.Head restraint below the head’s center of gravity
6.History of whiplash
7.Poor head restrain geometry/tall male
8.Failure to use seat belt/shoulder harness
9.Rear vs other vector impacts
10.Body Mass Index/head neck index, decreased risk with increasing mass and neck size
11.Out of position occupant
12.Having the head turned at the time of impact
13.Non-awareness of impending impact
14.Increasing age (middle age and beyond)
15.Front vs rear seat position
16.Impact by vehicle of greater mass
17.Crash velocity under 10 mph
18.Wet or icy roads increase the acceleration of the struck vehicle
19.Unprepared occupants are 72% more likely to be injured due to a lack of bracing
What Factors are Associated with a Poor Prognosis?
1.Loss of consciousness
3.Mid-scapular or mid back pain
4.Radiating arm or leg pain
5.Severe pain immediately
6.Age over 30
7.Admission into the hospital
8.Loss of cervical curve
9.Patients wearing a cervical collar for over 12 weeks.
10.Patients with Cervical Arthritis and Degeneration
12.Front Seat Position
13.Initial Neurological Symptoms
14.Initial loss of range of motion
15.Greater subjective cognitive complaints
How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Your doctor or chiropractor will take a detailed history and then perform a complete orthopedic and neurological evaluation. Depending on the extent of your injuries and symptoms, X-rays may be ordered.
Not all injuries are treatable by Chiropractic. If your doctor finds an injury that she does not treat you will be referred to the appropriate doctor. Many times your doctor will co-manage with other specialists to help you achieve a faster recovery.
Vitamin C- Orthomolecular
Vitamin D- Orthomolecular
Multi-vitamin Mito-core Orthomolecular
Glucosamine Sulfate Orthomolecular
Ortho-molecular Soft Tissue Orthomolecular
Acute Phase Metagenics
Top Whiplash Treatment in Austin
In standard medical settings, whiplash is treated with bed rest and a cervical collar to keep the neck immobilized. However, in a chiropractic setting, patients are treated with a combination of gentle low force adjustments, stretches, exercises and applications of ice.
At Austin Chiropractic & Rehab, we have invested in advanced techniques to get you back to your life and out of pain as fast as possible. We also teach our patients stretches and exercises that will help improve mobility, reduce inflammation, reduce muscle tension and help the patient stay mobile during recovery. Patients are encouraged to perform their exercises daily. This active form of treatment helps patients experience less pain overall and regain standard mobility much more quickly than traditional medical treatments.
Dr.Shawn McHone is particularly skilled in spinal adjustments that can help put the neck gently back in order to release pinched nerves. He can help patients rehabilitate the surrounding soft tissue injuries by teaching them therapeutic exercises and stretches that can help the neck heal and regain strength and range of motion. Our goal is to help you feel better and get back to pain-free living as soon as possible.
Overcoming Whiplash in Austin
The trickiest thing about whiplash is that, particularly with low-speed accidents, the symptoms often do not manifest themselves immediately. Right after the injury occurs a person may feel fine and think there is nothing wrong. But a few days or even weeks later, symptoms like neck pain, back pain, headache, vertigo and difficulty concentrating start to emerge, but with no clear connection to the original event. Some people suffer from these injuries for years before getting a correct diagnosis and effective treatment.
This is why we urge people who have been in any accident, even if it occurred at a low speed, to stop by and see us right away. Our Austin chiropractor, Dr. McHone, is extensively trained to diagnose these kinds of neck injuries and then treat them with highly-skilled, individually-tailored chiropractic care.
Contact Our Chiropractor in Austin for Whiplash Treatment
Whiplash accelerates cervical spondylosis by 15 years, so seeking treatment for your whiplash is critical. We can help you get treatment for your car accident injuries. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or simply want to get a checkup after your accident, contact us today at 512-451-0115.
What to Do Next: Schedule Your Initial Auto Accident Evaluation
Contact our chiropractic office and make an appointment for your initial exam, evaluation, consultation, and treatment. We can work with your insurance to get your accident claim processed, too, so your whole experience with us will be as easy on you as possible. Remember, when you come to us, you are putting your health and wellness in experienced, caring, compassionate, and highly skilled hands, and we won't let you down, ever.
We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to the Austin Chiropractic & Rehab family. You can reach us at:
Austin Chiropractic & Rehab
5775 Airport Blvd., #300
Austin, TX 78752
Neurology Research International Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 794829, 20 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/794829
The Role of the Craniocervical Junction in Craniospinal Hydrodynamics and Neurodegenerative Conditions
Bannister, G., Amirfeyz, R., Kelley, S., & Gargan, M. (2009). Whiplash Injury. Whiplash Injury, 91B(7), 845–850.
Croft, A. C. (2009). Whiplash and mild traumatic brain injuries: a guide for patients and practitioners. Coronado, CA: Spine Institute of San Diego Press.
Foreman, S. M., & Croft, A. C. (2002). Whiplash injuries: the cervical acceleration/deceleration syndrome. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
King, M. (2002). Current understanding of whiplash associated disorders: through referenced texts. North Carolina: M.H. King.
Mealy, K., Brennan, H., & Fenelon, G. C. (1986). Early mobilization of acute whiplash injuries. British Medical Journal, 292(6521), 656–657.
Melton, M. R. (1998). The complete guide to whiplash. Olympia, Wa.: Body-Mind Publications.