The cervical spine supports the full weight of the head yet has the greatest movement of any region of your spine. This makes it very susceptible to pain and injury such as whiplash.
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, similar to a whip cracking, hence the name. It is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents but can also result from sports accidents and other physical traumas. Whiplash may be referred to as a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.
Symptoms of a whiplash injury can be immediate and severe, however they are often delayed. They have been known to take days, weeks, months, or even years to develop. These symptoms may include neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, shoulder pain, and oftentimes low back pain as well. The exact presentation of the symptoms will vary depending on the nature of the trauma causing the injury, as well as your age and physical condition.
Many studies indicate the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the management of whiplash injuries. The appropriate chiropractic treatment delivered is unique to each whiplash injury depending on the cause and presentation of the injury which is determined during a thorough examination of the patient. Treatment may include chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue techniques, and rehabilitation exercises with the aim of care being to improve mobilisation of the affected area and decrease discomfort for the patient. Because whiplash cases can present so differently, it is not possible to generalise the exact treatment involved.
If you have previously had a neck injury or ongoing neck and shoulders issues due to some kind of physical trauma, whether it was a mild prang in a car or a rough tackle playing footy, have a chat with one of our chiropractors here at Sprouting Health to see if chiropractic care can help!
Teasell, R. W., McClure, J. A., Walton, D., Pretty, J., Salter, K., Meyer, M., Sequeira, K., & Death, B. (2010). A research synthesis of therapeutic interventions for whiplash-associated disorder (WAD): part 4 - noninvasive interventions for chronic WAD. Pain research & management, 15(5), 313–322. https://doi.org/10.1155/2010/487279
Wong, J. J., Shearer, H. M., Mior, S., Jacobs, C., Côté, P., Randhawa, K., Yu, H., Southerst, D., Varatharajan, S., Sutton, D., van der Velde, G., Carroll, L. J., Ameis, A., Ammendolia, C., Brison, R., Nordin, M., Stupar, M., & Taylor-Vaisey, A. (2016). Are manual therapies, passive physical modalities, or acupuncture effective for the management of patients with whiplash-associated disorders or neck pain and associated disorders? An update of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders by the OPTIMa collaboration. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society, 16(12), 1598–1630. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2015.08.024
Shaw, L., Descarreaux, M., Bryans, R., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Ruegg, R., Watkin, R., & White, E. (2010). A systematic review of chiropractic management of adults with Whiplash-Associated Disorders: recommendations for advancing evidence-based practice and research. Work (Reading, Mass.), 35(3), 369–394. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-2010-0996
Gevers-Montoro, C., Provencher, B., Descarreaux, M., Ortega de Mues, A., & Piché, M. (2021). Clinical Effectiveness and Efficacy of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation for Spine Pain. Frontiers in pain research (Lausanne, Switzerland), 2, 765921. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpain.2021.765921
Woodward, M. N., Cook, J. C., Gargan, M. F., & Bannister, G. C. (1996). Chiropractic treatment of chronic 'whiplash' injuries. Injury, 27(9), 643–645. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0020-1383(96)00096-4
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