Whiplash injury occurs when the body reacts to a deceleration or acceleration force by hyperflexion or hyperextension of the neck.

Optimal Health Chiropractic and Physical Therapy specializes in treating whiplash injuries, auto accident injuries, and bicycle accident injuries. Whiplash injuries are very common in car accidents and occur, in part, due to the fact that the muscles do not have enough time to brace themselves.

Because symptoms of this injury can take weeks or even months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as seriously injured as you really are. Symptoms from it can include anything from radiating pain into the shoulder, elbow pain, wrist pain or hand pain, lower back pain, headaches, jaw pain and more.

Injuries from Whiplash Trauma

Whiplash injuries can manifest themselves in a wide variety of ways, including neck pain, headaches, fatigue, upper back and shoulder pain, and low back pain. Due to the fact that numerous factors play into the overall whiplash trauma, such as direction of impact, speed of the vehicles involved, as well as sex, age and physical condition, whiplash symptoms commonly have a delayed onset, often taking weeks or months to become evident.

A number of conditions which may results from whiplash include:

1) Neck Pain

Neck pain is the single most common complaint reported by our patients who have experienced whiplash trauma. Often the pain radiates across the shoulders, up into the head, and down between the shoulder blades. Whiplash injuries tend to affect all of the tissues in the neck, including the facet joints and discs between the vertebrae, as well as all of the muscles, ligaments and nerves. Take the time and get treated by either us or a chiropractor near you!

Disc injury is also a common cause of neck pain, especially chronic pain. The outer wall of the disc can be torn during a trauma.

2) Headaches

After neck pain, headaches are the second most common complaint from those suffering from whiplash injury. While some headaches are actually the result of direct brain injury, most are related to injury of the muscles, ligaments and facet joints of the cervical spine, which refer pain to the head.

3) TMJ Pain

A less common, but very debilitating disorder, is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). TMJ usually begins as pain along with clicking and popping noises in the jaw during movement. Our doctors are specially trained to treat TMJ problems. If they think you need additional care, they will refer you to a TMJ specialist outside our clinic.

4) Lower back pain

Most people consider whiplash to be an injury of the neck. However, the lower back is also commonly injured as well. In fact, low back pain is found in more than half of rear impact collisions in which injury was reported, and almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes. This is mostly due to the fact that the low back still experiences a tremendous compression.

Healing from Whiplash Injury

With proper care, many mild injuries heal within a few weeks, while other more severe injuries may last six to nine months. Whiplash is a unique condition that requires the expertise of a skilled health professional specially trained to work with these types of injuries. The most effective treatment for this injury is a combination of evidence-based chiropractic care and rehabilitation of the soft tissues.

1) Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care utilizes manual manipulation of the spine to restore the normal movement and function of the spinal joints. It is by far, the single-most effective treatment for minimizing the long-term impact of whiplash injuries, especially when coupled with massage therapy, trigger point therapy, exercise rehabilitation and other soft tissue rehabilitation modalities by our doctors.

2) Soft Tissue Treatment

Our doctors have training in many soft tissue techniques including Graston Technique, myofascial release, trigger point release, and other pain management modalities. Our soft tissue and myofascial release protocols are used to reduce inflammation and break up scar tissue and adhesions while restoring proper function to muscles.