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How Effective is Chiropractic for Whiplash?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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People who are living with the aftermath of a car accident often look to chiropractic for whiplash as an effective way to relieve their symptoms. A chiropractor is trained to provide non-surgical treatment for injuries and medical conditions affecting the spine and neck. Rather than simply prescribing medications for pain relief, the chiropractor may perform a manipulation on the spine or use massage, electrical stimulation or ultrasound to treat the injury.

A whiplash injury is a common occurrence in a motor vehicle accident. When a person's head and neck is flung forward and then snapped back, such as with the impact that occurs when a vehicle is struck from behind, this type of injury may result. A whiplash injury affects the soft tissues of the neck, as well as the vertebrae located in this part of the body.

The first step in getting relief through chiropractic for whiplash is for the injured person to provide with chiropractor with a detailed medical history. This type of medical care treats the whole person, as opposed to simply the symptoms the patient is complaining about. The chiropractor will perform a detailed physical examination that includes the patient's neck and spine to discover whether the back also needs to be treated.

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The next step in chiropractic for whiplash treatment is for the chiropractor to work on reducing inflammation from irritated soft tissues in the neck and the back. Gentle massage or stretching may be used at this point to provide relief from acute symptoms. Other measures to relieve pain, such as applying ice or heat, may be recommended.

Once the muscles have been made to relax following the injury, the chiropractor will turn his or her attention to introducing manipulations. Not all chiropractic for whiplash treatment plans involve the practitioner using direct force on the neck or back. Depending on the patient's condition, the chiropractor may use an instrument so that he or she can apply force to the spine without unnecessarily irritating discs that have started to degenerate.

Since this type of non-invasive care involves treating the individual and not simply the injury, part of chiropractic for whiplash and other neck pain is offering advice about diet and lifestyle changes that can help to make the patient feel more comfortable. The chiropractor may suggest some exercises or techniques to reduce stress, which will reduce muscle tension and can help to relieve pain.

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