How chiropractors treat whiplash after an auto accident

Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders are telltale signs of whiplash following a car accident. During impact, the forceful back-and-forth motion creates trauma that leaves the cervical spine out of alignment. Studies investigating high-speed cameras and sophisticated crash dummies have determined that the impact actually forces cervical vertebrae into positions of hyperextension while the upper-cervical vertebrae are forced into hyperflexed positions to create soft-tissue damage. If left untreated, the pain and loss of motion can last for years. Many people find whiplash pain relief using gentle, non-invasive chiropractic treatments.

How Do Chiropractors Treat Auto Accident Injuries?

First, a chiropractor, like Dr. Tiffani Fries, DC, will begin by evaluating your spine and central nervous system from a holistic standpoint. This is done to look for signs of injury beyond a whiplash-type injury. Specifically, the following is looked for:

  • Confined joint movement.
  • Disc injuries.
  • Ligament injuries.
  • Muscle injuries/abnormalities.

In some cases, imaging and other diagnostic tests will be needed to conclude results. As long as there is not a more serious injury, and your injury is fresh, a chiropractor will often deliver acute care that’s focused on reducing inflammation as much as possible. Various stretching techniques and manual therapies are also applied to try to reduce the tension that is causing pain.

A long-term plan for helping you to return to full mobility to live a pain-free life following a whiplash injury typically includes a multiple faceted approach. While some of the work is done in the office, patients are also empowered to learn how to promote healing through the ways they move in daily life.

Here’s what a full plan might look like:

  • Manual manipulation
  • Manual therapies and stretching
  • Muscle relaxation and stimulation
  • Trigger-point therapy
  • Manual joint stretching
  • Resistance techniques
  • Instrument-assisted soft-tissue therapy, including cold laser therapy
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Specialized exercises conducted both in the office and at home
  • Ergonomic changes
  • Diet changes, including supplement support
  • Lifestyle changes

The primary goal is to treat any muscle or tissue injury resulting from the trauma of the accident. There is also an emphasis on reducing inflammation that is causing pain and restriction within the spine. Unlike many other treatments, chiropractic care for auto accidents also uses exercises and stretches that patients can practice at home to supplement the care they receive in the office. Chiropractors also provide instruction on how patients can use posture, movements, and body positioning in daily life to speed up healing.

Does Whiplash Go Away On Its Own?

Whiplash-related pain and restriction won’t necessarily clear up on their own if you don’t receive treatment. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to still be experiencing symptoms stemming from auto accidents decades later.

If you’re experiencing pain in your neck and shoulders following a car accident, Dr. Tiffani Fries, DC and the Genesis Chiropractic team are here to help. Our state-of-the-art office serves clients throughout the Salt Lake City area. Contact Genesis Chiropractic to book your appointment.