Whiplash is a common neck injury that results from a motor vehicle accident. It affects both the bones and soft tissues around the neck and the lower part of the head. According to statistics, roughly 3 million people in the USA suffer from whiplash injury each year.
As a result, it’s among the top reasons why a patient comes to see a neck pain chiropractor in Portland. Fortunately, the majority of whiplash injuries aren’t fatal. They can, however, cause persistent neck pain. If it doesn’t get enough care, it can leave you debilitated.
Understanding Your Neck’s Structure
Notice how your neck allows you to move your head in various directions? That’s because its structural design allows maximum flexibility. However, that same feature makes you susceptible to neck injuries and even muscle wear and tear.
If you take a closer look at your neck, you’ll notice that it’s consisted of smaller bones, called vertebrae. In total, you have seven vertebral bones on the neck. Cartilage discs separate these bones and act as shock absorbers that minimize bone friction.
Among these seven bones, a neck pain chiropractor in Decatur primarily focuses on the topmost bones, the atlas and the axis. These two bones are known for their unique shape and design. They carry and support the skull and enable most of your head movements.
Tucked inside these two neck bones is your brainstem, which sorts information received and sent by the brain to the rest of your body. It also connects your brain to your spinal cord.
Besides the bones and the brainstem, your neck also has muscles and ligaments, which support the entire structure.
Just like in any part of your body, if you flex your neck rapidly and forcefully, you will most likely end up straining the muscles and ligaments. During an accident, your neck’s soft tissues, muscles, and ligaments get overstretched, causing a whiplash injury.
In some patients, the symptoms don’t show right after the accident. It could take up to a few months or years before some symptoms of whiplash neck injuries occur.
Related Link: Ice May Slow Injury Recovery
What Causes a Whiplash?
Typically, a whiplash injury arises from car accidents, but physical assault, cycling accidents, falls, and contact sports can also cause it. Any event or accident that forces the neck to move back and forth rapidly can trigger a whiplash injury. It can affect various parts of your body, including:
- Neck muscles
- Intervertebral joints
- Spinal ligaments
- Nerve roots
- Intervertebral discs
Do you think you may have whiplash caused by an accident? Contact Inner Gate Health and Wellness to set up an appointment with one of our chiropractors.
Related Link: Injury Rehab Exercises to Try at Home
Can Whiplash Be Serious?
Whiplash is a common injury, especially in car accidents, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. While most cases will heal quickly with the help of medication and stabilization, whiplash injuries can develop into serious problems if left untreated.
You should consult with a doctor as soon as you suspect you may have whiplash to diagnose and treat your whiplash injury properly. Otherwise, it could transform into severe and chronic pain in your neck, head, or arms that will last for years.
What Are the Key Symptoms of a Whiplash?
If you recently got into an accident from a car collision, contact sports, or other events, you will soon notice various neck injury symptoms. Two common things you will most likely observe are neck stiffness and pain. Besides these two, you might also experience other whiplash injury signs and symptoms such as:
- Sharp pain due to sudden head or neck movements
- Temporary loss or limitation of regular neck movements
- Throbbing shoulders
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Pain in your upper and mid-back
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Blurry vision
- Backpain (both in the upper and middle back)
- Arm or hand tingling or numbness
- Tinnitus (hearing buzzing sounds)
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Lack of sleep
- Cognitive difficulties
- Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression
Even a simple neck pain caused by a whiplash injury can cause severe disruptions to your everyday routine. Hence, if you notice pain or other symptoms following the accident, it’s best to seek help right away.
Hope for Your Whiplash Neck Injury
The majority of patients diagnosed with whiplash injury often live through mild to severe neck pain. As a patient, you have various care options to choose from, ranging from anti-inflammatory drugs to muscle relaxants.
However, in most cases, prescription drugs can’t help relieve muscle stiffness or promote normal blood circulation hindered by cervical bone misalignment.
As a result, most patients turn to a neck pain chiropractor in Portland for healing assistance. With the help of an experienced neck chiropractor, your neck can naturally heal. The idea is to slowly realign the atlas and axis to relieve pressure on the muscles and soft tissues.
How to Treat Whiplash Naturally at Home
While it is best to see a doctor or chiropractor to treat whiplash, you can do a few things to reduce symptoms and ease the pain until you see your doctor:
Alternate Heat and Ice: Within the first 48 hours of the injury, you’ll experience swelling around the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every 4 hours to the inflamed area to help reduce the swelling. Then after 48 hours, you can also apply a heating pad to soothe and loosen the muscles around your neck. Alternate between an ice pack and a heating pad to speed up healing time.
Perform Light Stretches: Your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor may suggest several light stretches you can do at home to improve your range of motion.
Drink Ginger Tea: Ginger tea has anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help reduce swelling and relax your muscles. Chamomile tea is another great tea to help relax muscles and promote healing.
Use Essential Oils or CBD Oil: Essential oils such as lavender help relax and heal muscles that are inflamed. CBD oil also can reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
If your neck is still stiff after a few weeks, you may want to contact a chiropractor specializing in neck pain and injuries. They’ll be able to create a customized treatment that may include:
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Therapeutic exercise
- Manual therapy
Are you looking for a chiropractor in Portland? Learn more about Inner Gate Health and Wellness.
How Long Does Whiplash Take to Heal?
With proper treatment, individuals can expect to heal from whiplash within a few days or weeks. And most patients completely heal within 3 months. If you have followed your doctor’s recommended treatment and still feel pain or stiffness, you may want to see our chiropractors, who can focus on relieving and realigning your neck.
Complications That Can Develop from Whiplash
If left untreated, some people can develop chronic pain and headaches that can last several years. This pain is often due to damage in the neck joints, ligaments, and disks. Because whiplash can have lasting effects, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
If you suspect that a whiplash injury caused your chronic pain or headaches, don’t worry. We can create a customized healing treatment to minimize the pain and correct the damage in your neck.
Our Neck Pain Chiropractors in Portland Can Help
Neck chiropractors focus on correcting upper cervical bone misalignments. Jerrod use various techniques to ensure the even distribution of your head’s weight on the atlas and axis. And, because each injury is different, we study the case carefully and create a customized approach for each patient. Through precise measurements and gentle adjustments, your neck can experience long-term pain relief.
When you visit our neck pain chiropractor in Portland for your whiplash injury, you can expect to receive numerous benefits, including:
- A thorough analysis of your condition – Neck chiropractors will study your patient history and the nature of the injury to determine the best course of action to use.
- Gentle adjustments made just for you – There isn’t a singular approach to correcting upper cervical problems. Each patient is different. Hence, the approach we use also varies, depending on the needs of the patient. We use gentle movements that will help your neck heal faster.
Suppose you complain about chronic neck pain due to a whiplash injury. In that case, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Jerrod Puckett DC to learn how he can help you ease your pain.
Are you in the Portland area and need an appointment to treat whiplash? You can contact us by calling us at (971) 279-2294.
Related Link: Chiropractor for a Pinched Nerve: Things to Know