Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are forced forward by an impact and then jerked back once the force of impact subsides. Often, this happens to a person when their vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle. It can also happen when diving into water, being hit hard from behind or a myriad of other traumatic events. Sometimes the symptoms are immediate, but frequently it takes several days to feel the full effects of this injury.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and last from a few days to a year and longer. These include, but are not limited to, sore neck, difficulty turning your head, headache, dizziness, neck pain and shoulder pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should immediately be seen by a doctor, to rule out any serious injuries or neurological damage. Once you have ruled this out, you need to decide what type of treatment would best help you fully recover in the shortest amount of time.
In the acute stage of whiplash, a chiropractor will most likely employ therapies meant to reduce inflammation. They are also likely to utilize gentle stretching of the injured muscles and ligaments. As the pain lessens, you will be able to tolerate gentle spinal manipulation, which will help you regain your range of motion. From there you may receive multiple therapies that will help you to move unrestricted, and become pain free.
Some of these therapies may include therapeutic massage, to relieve muscle tension and gently stretch ligaments or trigger point therapy, to release tight muscles. They might also include ultrasound therapy to increase blood circulation; this helps relax muscles and eliminate spasms and interferential electrical stimulation, used to gently stimulate the muscles and reduce inflammation. You may also require adjustments to your spine to provide correct alignment.
This technique can greatly improve range of motion, reduce a patient’s pain and improve their mood. This therapy derives from reflexology, and utilizes five handhold techniques applied to the feet and the hands. The patient can expect to initially feel worse, this normally lasts for 48 hours, and then the patient’s symptoms start to be alleviated.
With subsequent visits, the patient can expect to see improvements each time he has the therapy, and should not see a temporary increase of symptoms as he or she did on the first visit. It is believed that these techniques stimulate the nerves that are descendants of the main spinal nerves. This is thought to enable them to transmit more effectively and in turn reduce pain and promote healing.
Nutrition can play a major role in recovering from whiplash. Increasing your intake of vitamins B and E will help you rebuild damaged tissue at a faster rate. Adding more magnesium to your diet will help as well, it naturally relaxes the muscles and in doing so, provides pain relief. Herbal treatments are also effective in reducing stress, relieving pain and relaxation. St. Johns Wort, Comfrey and Lavender oils are herbs that provide relief and relaxation.
These are some of alternatives to traditional medical therapy in treating whiplash. The less pain medication you take, the more in tune with your bodies injury you will be. Finding ways to treat your injury, instead of masking it with pain pills, will ultimately put you on a faster road to recovery. The end result of natural treatments will most likely be a great improvement in pain and range of motion achieved in a shorter amount of time.
Andrew Greene is a freelance writer and blogs for accidentclaims.org where you can get help on filing accident claims.