What is Whiplash?

If you have injured your neck from a fast, forceful, back-and-forth motion, then you have been injured by Whiplash. It is called Whiplash because it is reminiscent of the crack of a whip. The most common cause of Whiplash is rear-end automobile accidents in which the individual’s head is whipped due to the force of the auto crash. Whiplash also occurs in sports accidents, physical abuse and trauma events.

What is the best way to treat Whiplash?

The primary treatment for Whiplash is spinal manipulation. After a Whiplash accident, your spine may have moved out of place at one or more joints due to the force of the Whiplash. Spinal manipulation involves a highly trained Chiropractor evaluating your spine. The doctor determines which segments have moved and how much. Then the segments can gently be moved back into place to rid you of pain and heal the injury for good. The Doctor of Chiropractic will perform a specialized neurological evaluation including X-rays and MRI if needed. This helps to determine where your problem lies and how severe it is. This exam will allow the doctor to provide individualized treatment to heal your spine and get you feeling better quickly. The ligaments and muscles have been inflamed by the injury and will need therapy to reduce the inflammation that is causing much of the pain.

Whiplash Symptoms:

  • Sleep Problems
  • Numbness, burning, or prickly tingling feelings
  • Hoarse Voice
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory Problems
  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
  • Dizziness

Easy tips to heal Whiplash include:

  • Perform gentle stretching exercises (prescribed by your doctor) to increase circulation and keep your neck from getting even stiffer.
  • Avoid carrying heavy packages or bags on your shoulder. If you are a mom, (try) to avoid carrying your little ones as this will make matters worse.
  • If you work at a desk or computer, take frequent breaks where you get up out of your chair and let your neck muscle relax. Lie down, or let your head drape backwards on to the back of a high chair if possible to completely reduce the tension in your neck muscles for a little while throughout your day.
  • Ice the injury frequently throughout the day to reduce inflammation.
  • Take a hot shower or warm bath before bed to relieve the muscle tension to get a better night sleep.

Frequently Ask Question About Whiplash

Ice or heat for Whiplash?

Although heat feels good on a Whiplash injury, ice is the way to go to reduce inflammation of swollen and overstretched muscles and move toward healing the injury. Heat can help increase circulation to the injured areas and eases tight muscles providing you with some relief. Rule of thumb is to apply ice every hour for 15 minutes and heat (if desired) every 3 hours.

What is the medical term for Whiplash?

The technical medical term for Whiplash is Cervical Acceleration-Deceleration Syndrome (CAD Syndrome) because it is caused by the speeding up and then the abrupt slowing down of the neck muscles due to a force

How do I know if I have Whiplash?

The most common signs and symptoms of Whiplash are neck pain, neck stiffness, difficulty moving your neck and headaches following a Whiplash type of injury. If you have sustained an injury where your head and neck were abruptly jerked, you may be suffering from Whiplash. Below are the most common symptoms of Whiplash.

How can I get rid of Whiplash fast?

Most symptoms go away within 2 to 4 weeks after injury but can be alleviated faster with proper treatment and some healthy recovery practices that you do on your own.

Whiplash treatment involves the immediate evaluation of your spine in the neck region (cervical spine) to determine how your neck has been affected by the Whiplash and what needs to be done to heal it as quickly as possible. A Chiropractor is the type of doctor that is most highly trained to make that diagnosis. The Doctor of Chiropractic will perform a neurological exam including x-rays and possibly MRI if it is necessary to make a diagnosis. Once the injury has been identified then a proper treatment plan including spinal manipulation, therapy for your muscles, and a specific home exercise plan will be made and implemented so you can heal as fast as possible from the injury.

What to do for Whiplash?

The best things that you can do to help your neck and body heal after Whiplash is to avoid straining your neck and giving it ample time to be in a relaxed state to help the spine and surrounding muscles heal. Of course, seeking treatment with a qualified Chiropractor so he or she can make a specific treatment plan will help you heal as fast as possible.

What causes Whiplash?

Whiplash is typically caused by a person’s head being quickly and forcefully thrown backward and then forward. This motion can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck. The most common cause of Whiplash is car crashes and automobile accidents.

How is Whiplash diagnosed?

The easiest and most measurable way for Whiplash to be diagnosed is through physical exam by a trained professional to see the range of motion of your neck and the pain points during movement. X-ray and MRI imaging are used to see the extent of injury to the bones of the spine, spinal cord itself, muscles and nerves surrounding the injured area.

Dr. Cosmas Leigh at Leigh Brain & Spine has been treating Whiplash injuries for almost 25 years. He is highly trained and has read thousands of x-rays and MRI reports. If you have suffered a Whiplash injury call now, (919) 401-9933, to have a comprehensive evaluation and get you back to the activities you love.

Spine Conditions

Chiropractors FAQ

Do Chiropractors adjust all patients the same way?

No. The chiropractor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. In fact, there are many different chiropractic techniques and the chiropractor will decide which is best for each patient. The recommendations made by a chiropractor are based upon years of training and experience. Each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” Chiropractors may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is initially utilized back surgery can often be avoided in the first place. Some chiropractors specialize in serving those people who have had previous back surgeries and are still in pain. Spinal Decompression Therapy can be the most effective course of treatment for such a person.

Can I adjust myself?

No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs.

Can I tell if my spine is out of alignment?

Not always. A misalignment is like a dental cavity–you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a misalignment, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. Regular spinal checkups are always a good idea, and they promote good health from the inside out.

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About Dr. Cosmas Leigh

Chiropractic Physician

Dr. Cosmas Leigh, D.C. is a pioneer in Spinal Decompression to treat spinal stenosis, herniated discs, bulging discs, and disc degeneration. Dr. Leigh was the first in his region to include the state-of-the-art DRX 9000c Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression system to his practice to reduce pain and restore function for people of all ages.