What is the best treatment for whiplash?
I have 20 years experience treating patients with injured necks from car accidents and most people are surprised to find out that much of the advice online is not helpful. Let's talk about the above recommendations first. Here is the standard advice that you will see online:
UNHELPFUL ADVICE FOR WHIPLASH:
- “Ice your neck- “Of the typical mainstream advice this is perhaps the most useful. Icing your neck as they describe will reduce inflammation after an injury but that is about it.
- “Take painkillers and other drugs”- This is not going to help you. These medications will help with the pain on a temporary basis. However, these drugs will not do anything to heal the ligament and muscle damage found in whiplash. In fact, numerous studies have found “painkillers and other drugs” to delay healing time.
- “Use a neck brace or collar” this is only if you have a severe neck injury otherwise avoid neck collars. After 20 years of practice I find that they do more harm to the muscles and ligaments than good. If your muscles are to return to normal you will need them to work like before.
- “Apply moist heat to your neck -- but only after 2-3 days of icing it first.” Not bad advice but so many other things that can help are available.
Here is the best way of treating your whiplash injury. There are not just based on my opinion but what is widely considered best practice in the industry:
BEST ADVICE FOR WHIPLASH:
- Before you do anything have an exam and an xray of your injured neck. In the past 20 years I can not tell you how many times we have found undiagnosed fractures and damaged ligaments that were completely missed by the emergency room. If you try to cover up these injuries up with pain killers you will never heal properly.
- Once your Chiropractor has determined that it is safe startcorrecting the misalignments in your spine. Whiplash injuries can result in misalignment. Only a chiropractors have been trained to correct spinal misalignments. The sooner you start the quicker you will experience relief.
- Exercise under supervision: Whiplash results in damage to your muscles and ligaments. Do you want them to grow back just like before the whiplash? Then you MUST exercise. Muscles do not just grow on their own you have to exercise muscles to make them grow.
- Manual Therapy: This is not massage. Manual Therapy is a treatment that helps the muscles and ligaments repair properly.
- TENS: Your Chiropractor can provide you with a take home TENS unit. This is a small electrical stimulation device that uses electricity to decrease pain. Unlike medication it has no side effects. You can use it as long as you like.
- Spinal Decompression: For those that have sustained a disc herniation in their cervical spine decompression is a safe alternative to surgery or medication. Spinal decompression utilizes a special table to reduce the pressure on the pinched nerves by opening the spaces between the bones in the neck.
As you can see the treatments listed above are much more involved than the basic do-it -yourself home care. If not treated properly whiplash can result in headaches, neck pain, pinched nerves, dizziness, numbness in the hands and arms, mid back pain even low back pain. The results are far superior when injuries are treated by a licenced chiropractor. You only have one neck and you will not get a second chance to fix it properly. Do you have neck pain from whiplash? Our office is located in Clermont, Fl. Contact our office today for a consultation 352-241-4111.