Whiplash

Omaha Whiplash Chiropractor

Every person experiences some form of neck and back pain in their life. Whether it is from accidents, injuries, or even staying in one position for too long, a patient can identify how that pain started developing. Some, however, will suffer from an injury due to rapid back-and-forth motion of the neck: a whiplash. If patients do experience a whiplash, it is important to receive relief and treatment as soon as possible.

Our team at Diamond Chiropractic is exceptional when it comes to whiplash injuries. We help patients with whiplash cases resulting from car accidents or sports-related injuries, which often leading to back strain and sprain conditions.

young woman with neck pain

Whiplash Review

A whiplash occurs when the muscles in your neck experience a rapid back-and-forth motion. This trauma results in sore muscles and limited movement in your neck. Because of the location, and experiencing similar symptoms, patients may confuse a whiplash injury as ordinary neck pain, not realizing the difference between the two conditions.

Many people associate a whiplash with either auto accidents or sports-related injuries. While these are the most common, there are several other causes for experiencing a whiplash. In addition, clarifying symptoms associated with whiplash help to differentiate this condition from typical neck pain.

What Causes Whiplash?

Many patients associate whiplash with an auto accident or a sports injury. Both include some large force of impact to the body, which leads to the neck experiencing a rapid and sudden back-and-forth motion. However, according to fellow chiropractor Dr. Donald Murphy (2009), there are several other causes for whiplash, including:

Joint Dysfunction

Joint dysfunction occurs when a joint loses its range in motion. When a joint can’t function properly, its range of motion decreases. This causes pain when moving.

Chiropractors identify this through motion manipulation, through gently moving the joint in different directions to assess its range. Along with this, joint dysfunction can lead to a continuous cycle of muscle imbalance and pain.

Muscle Dysfunction

When there is joint dysfunction, the muscles are affected as well, resulting in muscle dysfunction. Due to disturbances in nerve communication, certain muscles will become overactive, while others will become underactive.

This causes trigger points (areas where toxins can amass and irritate nerve endings) to form in the affected muscles. If there are trigger points, pain felt from whiplash injury increases. In addition, faulty movement patterns develop due to nerve miscommunication between the nervous system and muscles in the body.

Unstable Movement

When the body experiences whiplash, the nervous system and cervical spine can’t work together well. This results in unstable movement patterns. In addition, this new movement causes muscle strains, neck and back pain.

Patients may experience different types of muscle instability from whiplash. Muscle instability greatly affects how you perform daily tasks, and it can increase the possibility of future injury and whiplash. As such, even the most normal tasks will be hard to do.

Disc Derangement

Disc derangement occurs when the discs between each vertebra become injured. Small tears can form on the discs, which could result in the disc’s inner fluid seeping out. If this occurs, nerves surrounding the injured disc(s) will become irritated, increasing the feeling of pain in that area.

Sometimes, this results in a herniated disc. Herniated discs can cause further pain in the neck and back, along with any surrounding muscles, while aggravating whiplash pain further 

Common Symptoms to Watch

Whiplash shares similar symptoms with cases of typical neck pain. The pain, however, makes it rather difficult to ignore. The pain can be either immediate, or it can develop several hours afterwards. Regardless, pain from a whiplash is intense, and it should be investigated further.

As already mentioned, whiplash symptoms are like those of neck pain. Even so, patients should consider the following when it comes to having experienced a whiplash:

  • Tenderness and/or tightness in the neck
  • Pain or stiffness when looking side to side, back and forth, or over a shoulder
  • Headaches radiating throughout the skull
  • Decreased range of motion (in the neck and/or the back)

Other symptoms include dizziness, nausea, confusion, trouble talking, and even unconsciousness. Severe cases may include suffering from a concussion, requiring immediate medical help. Regardless, medical care should be sought after a whiplash injury, especially if a headache persists or worsens or neck range of motion is not normal.

neck-pain-relief-omaha-diamond-chiroprac

Auto Accident Whiplash

When the word “whiplash” appears, many people usually think about pain they experience after a car accident. Auto accidents are just one of the most common causes behind whiplash cases, due to the impact felt when two or more vehicles crashing into another.

The problem is, sometimes the pain from an auto accident doesn’t appear immediately. When you are placed in situations such as an auto accident, your body may be running on adrenaline, making you unaware of any pain your body may be feeling. Because of this, you may not feel pain, such as a whiplash injury, for a few days or even a few months. The pain may develop over time, causing issues with performing daily responsibilities. It is important to consider medical attention – particularly chiropractic care – shortly after the accident.

Whiplash Signs to Watch

While we covered several symptoms that appear in whiplash cases, every patient is unique. The same applies to their individual case and the symptoms they experience. Symptoms can appear within 24 hours or a few days after an auto accident. In addition, those symptoms could last a few days or a few weeks. All this depends on when the accident occurred and how soon the symptoms develop.

Aside from neck pain and stiffness, the most common symptoms patients may experience include dizziness, irritability, blurred vision, and headaches originating from the base of the skull. Along with these, patients may experience concentration and/or memory problems, difficulty sleeping, ringing in the ears, pain or numbness in the extremities, chronic neck/shoulder/head pain, or even bladder/bowel issues. Any pain experienced can fluctuate, disappearing and reappearing within certain time frames.

Keep in mind, these symptoms appear in a variety of auto accidents, and they can pop up at different times after the accidents. The important thing is to receive medical attention as soon as possible.

Tips to Avoid an Auto-Related Whiplash

With auto-related whiplash, patients should consider the following tips: practice safe driving and receiving treatment.

Driving and riding safe should always be a priority when in a car. In addition, the way we ride in a car should be considered. Today, you may be surprised at certain habits you can find in a certain vehicle. Some tips drivers, and passengers, should consider when getting into a vehicle include:

  • No texting, Snapchatting, posting, etc. while driving
  • Listen to a playlist or radio station that can last the trip
  • Be aware of your surroundings while on the road
  • Sit with the seatbelt across the chest, not behind the back
  • Adjust the headrest and sit in an upright position
  • Don’t drive when you are sleepy

No pain or injury is worth answering a text. Whether you are the driver or the passenger, pay attention to the road. Being aware of what happens keeps you, and everyone else on the road, safe.

Seeking Whiplash Treatment

Another option is treatment. When treated, whiplash pain – and any symptoms – disappear over time. Patients who experience whiplash will use ice packs, compresses, and over-the-counter medications to help relieve lingering pain.

Some patients will use certain home remedies to decrease the pain, allowing the body to continue resting and healing after an auto accident.

In addition, patients may visit a chiropractor to help improve their neck’s range of motion, alleviate the pain, and general maintenance. Overall, resting/ healing and receiving treatment will start you down the right path of recovery.

injured soccer player

Sports-Related Whiplash

When it comes to sports, we all know how important it is to win the next point(s). Score a touchdown. Make a three-point basket. Kick the winning field goal. Point is, when playing sports, we don’t want to end in a pinch at the last minute. Because we are so focused on winning the game, we forget to focus on our body, which leads to sustaining injuries. In this case, a sports-related whiplash.

Neck injuries are common amongst most sports-related injury cases. This is due to the neck’s ability to be flexible while still supporting the weight of your head. The neck allows you to look in all directions while on the court/ field, to assess what your next move(s) would be. When there is neck pain, it is important not only to rest that area, but to also assess what could have caused that pain. Typical neck pain goes away after receiving treatment and rest, but a severe case means you may have experienced a whiplash.

Whiplash vs. Concussion

First, let’s clarify the difference between whiplash and a concussion. Often when athletes receive trauma to the head and/or neck, and they experience pain, the first thing that comes to mind is they are suffering from a concussion. In some situations, this may not be the case at all.

A concussion occurs when an athlete receives trauma to the head. This can be due to direct impact or after a sports-related whiplash injury. Upon impact, the head, and even the neck, is shook back and forth, causing the brain to bounce around. Certain cases of concussion result in the patient losing consciousness, but others can walk away and continue playing.

The most noticeable signs of a concussion include memory problems, balance problems, feeling dizzy or drowsy, delayed reaction to stimuli, and headaches. Other signs may include concentration issues, irritability, nausea or vomiting, and confusion.

The good news is most cases of a concussion are not life-threatening. Patients can be treated by taking a break from contact sports and having time to heal. If it is serious, seek medical attention immediately.

Let’s Talk Sports

When handling whiplash cases due to a sports injury, the most common cause is a fall. The impact from hitting the court or field can result in a sudden forward-and-back or side-to-side motion of the neck, resulting in whiplash. The pain will radiate in the neck and shoulders when this happens, and the pain can be either immediate or develop over time.

Aside from a fall, a sports-related whiplash could appear in any sport. Helmet-to-helmet impact or face-masking during a football game. Sucker punch at the opposing boxer. Soccer ball to the head or neck. A high kick – in cheerleading and dance – that hits the face. Cheerleading and/or dance stunts. Falling off a horse. Falling on the basketball court, especially after colliding with another player. Colliding with the volleyball, or an opposing player on the other side of the net. The list goes on. The main point, whiplash is a sports injury that could occur, given the right moment.

Tips & Tricks: Sports-Related Whiplash

Like many other conditions, there are ways to help prevent the possibility of experiencing another whiplash injury. With sports, it comes down to the equipment, good form/ technique and, as always, rest and healing.

Wearing Sports Gear

Most contact sports – such as football, fencing and hockey – require players to wear padding when playing. However, there are other sports that have little to no protective gear for their players. Baseball and softball players wear helmets when batting, mitts to catch balls, and protective gear if they are the team’s catcher. Volleyball players have the option to wear knee pads. Soccer players may wear shin guards, and only the goalies can wear protective gloves. Running, basketball, cheerleading, dance… no protective equipment. This in mind, when playing sports, make sure to use any provided gear.

Practice Proper Technique

In addition to gear, practicing proper form/ technique when active is important. When playing any sport, players will assume positions they learned from practice, other games, and more. Players may record practice sessions to watch themselves, to review what the proper technique/form is. Stretching beforehand, along with a cool-down afterwards, helps prevent further injury to the body. With whiplash, athletes use specific exercises for neck muscles while warming up. They will do those same exercises when finishing practice or a game as well.

Get Plenty of Rest

Now, while it is important to wear appropriate gear and practice proper technique/form when playing sports, it is crucial for athletes to rest and heal in between sessions. Sports place stress on an athlete’s body, making them feel tired and drained afterwards. When they don’t rest or allow their bodies to heal, the chances of getting injured increases. The same applies to experiencing whiplash as well. This is way trainers will plan out several days, in a week, for their athletes to rest and let their bodies heal. Rest days have a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Time to recover
  • Reduce risk of injury
  • Avoid muscle fatigue
  • Improve healthy sleep
  • Improve/ increase energy and endurance
  • Spending time with loved ones

Whiplash Treatment

 At Diamond Chiropractic in Omaha, our chiropractor will perform an examination, take x-rays, and evaluate your posture to determine the cause of your case. After comparing the findings and confirming the diagnosis, our chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to help alleviate your symptoms, heal the pain, and provide you with recommendations to lower your risk for possible reoccurrences.
chiropractor examining patients neck

Spinal Adjustments

Our doctor will realign the vertebrae in the affected area to increase your range of motion and alleviate the pain on the spinal nerves. We will focus on the imbalanced zone(s) connected to your case and begin treatment from there. Symptoms resulting from whiplash will begin to decrease as well.

Intersegmental Traction

Intersegmental traction involves the use of a special chiropractic table. This specific table includes rollers that will roll along the sides of the spinal column, allowing blood to flow through the tight muscles and ligaments. As this occurs, the muscles and ligaments loosen up and relax more; in addition, your spine will become more mobile.

Acupuncture

Electro-therapy, or acupuncture, is effective with whiplash cases. This is achieved through targeting certain acupuncture points during treatment, as well as an electro-muscle stimulator during therapy. Patients will notice, after several treatments, pain and certain symptoms beginning to decrease in frequency. In addition, they will start to see more mobility come back to their spine and other affected areas of the body.

Lifestyle Advice

With any injury, whether to the back, neck, or extremity, the last thing you want to do is make the pain worse. The same idea applies to handling cases of whiplash. Our advice is designed to help you perform everyday tasks and responsibilities safely. This includes temporarily limiting how much you carry, staying active, icing the affected area(s), and staying hydrated. At Diamond Chiropractic, we focus on healing and relief from whiplash pain, not aggravating it further.

Contact our Omaha Chiropractor for Whiplash Treatment

To get started with chiropractic care for your whiplash pain, choose our Omaha, NE chiropractor today. Diamond Chiropractic Omaha South is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Call our office today. When it comes to whiplash, get relief NOW & FAST.

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