The Importance of Seeking Whiplash Treatment ASAP

Whiplash happens during injuries that cause a forceful, rapid, back-and-forth movement of your neck. The motion that causes whiplash is similar to the motion that happens when you crack a whip, hence the name. Whiplash injuries are common during rear-end auto accidents, sports injuries, or other physical abuse or trauma.

The back and forth movement can put your neck into an unnatural “S” shape, causing pain, stiffness, headaches, and other symptoms that may seem unrelated, such as numbness in your arms or jaw pain. You not even realize you have a neck injury at first. But over the course of a few hours or even days, you’ll start to notice uncomfortable symptoms that need to be examined by a doctor.

Our doctors at McGowan Medical Centers want to see you quickly so they can get you started on a treatment plan to relieve your pain. Here are a few things you should know about whiplash and the importance of care.

Why do I need to see a doctor?

Many people think that it’s “just” whiplash and medical treatment isn’t needed. While there are self-care techniques, your spine and shoulders should be examined to make sure there are no injuries to bones, discs, ligaments, or other tissues. Symptoms of these injuries are similar to whiplash, so an exam by a qualified chiropractor is needed.

Studies show that the sooner you start treatment for whiplash, the better chance you have of making a full recovery. Going untreated for an extended period can cause the severity of your symptoms, like pain and stiffness, to worsen. Being treated within a week of the initial injury may decrease the risk of long-term disability and pain.

The sooner our doctors start treatment, the sooner you’ll be back to your normal activities. During the exam, Dr. McGowan or Dr. Jenkins may check:

If any part of this exam shows problems in your spine, you may have imaging tests done:

How is whiplash treated?

Whiplash care focuses on symptom control. Because whiplash can be different in one patient to the next, our doctors will create a specialized plan that addresses your specific problems. Common treatments include:

Manual manipulation

Our doctor uses their hands to make adjustments to your spine. This is done by applying short thrusts of pressure or slow mobilizing movements to the affected joint. Manipulating the tissue and joint helps to decrease pain caused by muscle spasms, tension, and joint dysfunction.

Muscle relaxation or stimulation

Gentle stretches of the injured muscle can help decrease your pain. Pressure is applied to the muscle to stretch it, relieving the pain associated with the muscle spasm you are experiencing.

Physical therapy

Exercises are an essential part of whiplash treatment that starts in the office but must be done at home too. Our doctor will teach you several exercises to train your brain and nerves to better control movement of your muscles. As your muscle movement improves, the muscles are better able to keep your neck stable and decrease pain.

Don’t postpone care after a traumatic injury to your neck. Our doctors can create a comprehensive treatment plan that will decrease your symptoms and get you on the road to recovery. Call our team or book your appointment online today.

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