Chiropractic Care: Treating a Whiplash Injury After a Car Accident

If you currently have neck pain that was caused during an accident, chances are you have whiplash. You may want to visit a chiropractor or neck pain doctor in Woodbridge, NJ who can offer non-surgical and drug-free options for recovery. Whiplash is when the neck muscles get injured due to rapid backward and forward jolting of the neck. Whiplash can cause short or long-term neck pain depending on the extent of the damage. It is advised that anyone who was in a car accident sees a chiropractor, as even a minor fender-bender can cause whiplash. 

Examining Your Neck for Whiplash

Your chiropractor will perform an evaluation of your neck before performing any chiropractic adjustments. He or she will examine areas with restriction motion, potential intervertebral disc damage, muscle spasms, tenderness, tightness, how the joints move together, and injury to ligaments. Your chiropractor will also probably ask you to walk around the office so they can take note of your spinal alignment and posture. Such details can help your chiropractor understand your body mechanics better and to what degree whiplash had caused you injury. 

Along with a physical examination, your chiropractor may ask that you have an MRI or X-ray done of your spine to identify if degenerative issues may have existed prior to the car accident. These tests can be influential if you file a claim with your insurance company or file a lawsuit against the driver, as it can show how your injuries were directly caused by the accident. 

Treatment Approaches For Whiplash

Chiropractors often view the body as one entire system, so any other symptoms you are having should be expressed with your chiropractor. After doing an exam and testing, your chiropractor can let you know what treatment approaches will be most helpful in your injury recovery. The most prevalently used chiropractic technique is spinal adjustments/manipulation. This is where the chiropractor uses their hands or small equipment tool to push joints and vertebrae back into alignment. Never attempt to perform a chiropractic treatment on yourself, as it must be done by an experienced and trained professional.

Other treatment approaches for whiplash can entail:

  • Flexion-distraction technique: helps treat herniated discs that were caused from the whiplash injury, a chiropractor applies slow pumping movements on the disc itself instead of sudden and direct force to the spine. 
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy: this technique is used to treat soft tissue injuries with a hand-held instrument. 
  • Therapeutic massage: your chiropractor may schedule therapeutic massages for you at the clinic to help relax tense muscles around the neck, shoulders, and back. 
  • Trigger point therapy: your chiropractor can identify areas that are hypertonic and painful, and gently alleviate the tension through applying direct pressure using the points of his or her fingers. 
  • Ultrasound therapy: ultrasound can help minimize muscle spasms and stiffness around the neck through increasing blood circulation to the injured area. 
  • Electrical Stimulation: a low-frequency current of electricity is used to stimulate the muscles of the neck, reducing inflammation and pain. 

Thanks to Northeast Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into chiropractic care and treatment for whiplash.