Have you been in an automobile crash and are now suffering from whiplash? You're not alone. Whiplash accounts for about 30% of auto injuries. The good news is that whiplash is almost always mild enough that people who have been injured are able to walk away from an accident and are rarely hospitalized or disabled from the condition.
Unfortunately, whiplash's lack of severity makes for a general attitude that it doesn't require treatment. Victims of whiplash often ignore their aches or pains or try to dull them with over-the-counter medication.
But when whiplash is left untreated, more serious damage could result. When the neck is thrust forward out of its natural range of motion, inflammation can cause degenerative damage in the cervical spine over time. When this happens, patients may experience symptoms like partial immobility, pain in the shoulder, and cervicogenic headaches.
It is clear that you should not ignore whiplash pain. But how do you treat it? Many people in pain turn to chiropractic care. It is often covered under insurance policies, if treatment is sought soon after the collision.
And chiropractic spinal adjustments are proven to be effective for treating whiplash, too. In a 2010 case study, a 37-year-old woman, who suffered from whiplash-related neck and shoulder pain, was treated by a chiropractor for 12 months with manual therapy.
With spinal manipulation and physical therapy exercises, the patient's pain was decreased significantly after just six weeks of treatment, from a 9 to a 2 on a 10-point scale. Six months later, she rated her pain a 1. The chiropractic treatment was also a success for the woman's neck function. Using the Copenhagen Neck Functional Disability Scale, her rating changed from 23 out of 30 to just 4 out of 30, and this was after only 11 spinal adjustments. The patient also experienced increased range of motion in the cervical spine thanks to the treatment.
Everyday we work to help Aloha, Salem, and Beaverton residents who have been injured in an auto collision. Our team at Oregon Medical Centers specializes in treating injuries like whiplash to relieve pain and prevent further complications. We use spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and other treatments to design the best care plan for each patient.
Lowry CD, O’Hearn MA, Courtney CA. Resolution of whiplash-associated allodynia following cervicothoracic thrust and non-thrust manipulation. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 2010;October 5.