Car Accident / Whiplash
Pain Treatment

Dr. Bradley Eyford

Car Accident / Whiplash Pain Treatment

Whiplash is a neck sprain or strain injury resulting from sudden backward to forward head movement like in an auto accident. The symptoms may or may not always appear suddenly. Hence to be safe, it is recommended to get a medical and chiropractic checkup. It is not advised to manage even mild pain and symptoms on your own using pain killers and OTC drugs.

At The Health Connection clinic, Whiplash treatment is best done by a car accident chiropractor who will help manage the symptoms and prevent whiplash complications.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH/ AUTO ACCIDENTS INJURY?

After facing a car accident, the victim may immediately feel the following symptoms:

  • Neck pain that worsens with neck movement
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck mobility issues
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vertigo, lightheadedness, dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache starting from the base of the skull
  • Tenderness in the neck, upper back, arm, and shoulders
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms

OTHER LESS FREQUENT SYMPTOMS

Some symptoms are not typical of whiplash, usually due to a deep brain or spinal cord injury. These symptoms often misguide the whiplash chiropractor and make a diagnosis difficult:

  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Tingling sensation or pain in the arms and hands
  • Lower back pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  •  Blurred vision
  •  Difficulty concentrating
  •  Depression

CAUSES OF WHIPLASH INJURY

A whiplash injury occurs due to sudden backward and forwards jerky neck movement. The movements overextend neck muscles and disjuncts ligaments, tendons, bones muscles to lead to strain and sprain injury.

While auto accidents are the most common cause, it can also occur as a result of:

  • Blunt trauma
  • Physical abuse like shake a baby syndrome
  • A sports-related collision like football tackles occurring in contact sports

WHIPLASH TREATMENT

Whiplash may heal on its own with some self-care and rest. The following measures will help with its recovery and provide pain relief:

  1. Self-care like applying ice packs
  2. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises
  3. Over-the-counter pain relievers like analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for immediate pain relief 
  4. Muscle relaxants and narcotics to reduce stiffness and anxiety
  5. Chiropractic adjustments 
  6. Physical therapy
  7. Massage 

CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT FOR WHIPLASH

Early consultation with a chiropractor after a whiplash injury decreases the risk and prevents potential complications. The best treatment for injury is chiropractic treatment.

The chiropractor identifies the misaligned spine joint and uses chiropractic adjustments to position it back to its proper alignment. This releases pressure on the neck muscles to resolve symptoms such as neck pain and stiffness. 

The Health Connection clinic specializes in whiplash injury treatment. We use our experience and knowledge to provide the highest quality of chiropractic care to our patients.

LONG-TERM PROBLEMS OF UNTREATED WHIPLASH INJURY

It is always better to consult an auto accident injury chiropractor to prevent future complications, even if the whiplash symptoms are mild. A stiff neck puts pressure on the neck, head, spine, and shoulder, leading to mobility issues and may affect the brain and spinal cord.

Other consequences of ignoring whiplash include:

  • Vertigo
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Vertebrae misalignment
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis

DOES MEDICAL INSURANCE COVER TREATMENT FOR AUTO ACCIDENTS INJURY / WHIPLASH?

If significant enough, most health insurance companies cover auto accident-related medical treatment. Therefore, it is best to consult the chiropractor as soon as possible after the accident to have legal and medical proof of your suffering. If the accident happened because of someone else’s fault, the at-fault driver is liable to pay the victim’s bills.

Contact us to book an appointment if you have a whiplash injury.

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How do we treat Auto Accident injuries?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT whiplash / auto accident injury

Do Tacoma chiropractors treat whiplash?

In Tacoma, chiropractors treat whiplash injury effectively with manual techniques and the use of special tools. The chiropractic treatment, in fact, is the best non-invasive treatment option for whiplash. It releases pressure on the neck muscles, and resultantly, the common symptoms, such as neck pain and stiffness, resolve. The chiropractor for whiplash manages the following problems:

  • Pain and stiffness.
  • Mobility issue.
  • Spine misalignment.
  • Vertigo and nausea.
  • Soft tissue injuries.
  • Complications like disc herniation.

How long does it take for neck whiplash to heal?

The healing of soft tissue injuries occurs in three stages. The duration for each stage varies and is affected by several factors. The phases of recovery include:

  •  The inflammatory phase – the body’s response – lasts for up to 72 hours.
  • The proliferative phase – lasts for about four to six weeks.
  • The remodeling phase – may last for up to a year.

Together, it can take about six to eight weeks for the injury to heal reasonably.

What is the best treatment for whiplash injury?

The best treatment for whiplash after a car accident is chiropractic care. The chiropractor works by identifying the misaligned and/or fixated joints in the spine and then restores the joints back to normal. They also can fix herniated discs manually by special techniques. With the help of gentle stretching and restorative exercises, the chiropractor treats muscle dysfunction and restores joint mobility. As the tension on the muscles releases, the neck aching and stiffness improve. For pain management, massage therapy is useful too. Early car accident chiropractic care  decreases the long term risks and prevents potential complications that can lead to disability.

Can you heal from whiplash?

The majority of the people do heal from whiplash injury if the loss is mild. If severe damage is there, the recovery varies according to the type and extent of the injury. The stress and strain injuries tend to heal well with chiropractic care. Mild traumatic brain injuries need more time and improve with advanced medical intervention. In some cases, the symptoms remain for life if the damage is permanent.

What is the fastest way to recover from whiplash?

The whiplash recovery period depends on the extent of the injury. If the damage is mild, the symptoms resolve within days to weeks with rest and analgesics. However, it is advised to get a proper checkup done by a chiropractor after a car accident. If the damage is severe, recovery takes even longer. The process of healing can be accelerated with the help of a whiplash chiropractic expert and good self-care. The chiropractor treats whiplash in Tacoma by combining spinal manipulation, stretching exercises, and pressure point massage, which promptly release the tension on the neck, ultimately improving stiffness and allowing smooth mobility. 

How can I speed up my whiplash recovery?

If not severe, symptoms may resolve within a few weeks. However, it is not wise to let whiplash heal on its own. Fifty percent of all people that experience a whiplash injury suffer with chronic pains years later. The chiropractor’s advice for whiplash is crucial for fast recovery and to decrease the risk of long term complications. They help to deal with pain and stiffness by adjusting the misaligned spine. While waiting for the results, other remedies are helpful for pain management. Placing a hot or cold pad over the neck releases tension over neck muscles and relieves neck ache. Over the counter painkillers are a good option for temporary immediate pain relief.

What are the side effects of a car accident?

The common side effects of a car accident are pain, distress, and stiffness, and if the accident is more serious, crushing and penetrating injuries can be there. In some cases, whiplash injuries  after a car accident might not seem significant; however, damage to the deep structures such as the brain or spinal cord may be present, resulting in long-term consequences. Traumatic brain injuries can cause personality changes, difficulty sleeping, memory issues, and mobility problems.

The psychological trauma following an accident negatively affects an individual’s life. It can also result in psychiatric conditions such as phobia, anxiety disorder, depression, etc.

How long are you sore after a car accident?

Following a car accident, it is normal for the soreness to last for a few days to several weeks. The soreness is because of bruising, micro tears and minor injuries. However, in some people, it may occur without any physical injuries, probably because of psychological trauma. This duration can vary if the injuries are severe. If you experience pain and discomfort for more than six weeks, this indicates the problem is severe. You should seek whiplash treatment in Tacoma from a chiropractor who is experienced in managing whiplash injuries.

Is it normal to throw up after a car accident?

Nausea and vomiting are frequent complaints after facing an auto accident in Tacoma. The coordination and balance of the body are maintained by a special system, which is very sensitive to the postural changes of the body. The sudden to and fro movements of the neck affects the balance system and result in vomiting and nausea. There may also be psychological whiplash symptoms like stress and anxiety after a car accident.

How long does it take to recover from soft tissue injury?

The exact duration required for tissue healing depends on the severity of the injury. If the injury is minor, it may heal on its own in six to eight weeks. With treatment, however, this duration may reduce to fewer weeks. The symptoms of neck pain and stiffness may last for even longer and usually do not leave easily unless appropriate chiropractic care has been taken.

Can you get a concussion from a minor car accident?

The risk of concussion injury depends on how severely the head strikes against the headrest or interior of the car. Sometimes, even if the car accident seems minor, the head may have struck harder than initially realized resulting in whiplash injury.

Can you sue for emotional distress from a car accident?

According to Law, if emotional distress and psychological trauma following a car accident due to someone’s negligence are significant, you can get compensation for it. The emotional distress, however, should be substantial and medically proven. So, if you experience mental disturbances after facing an accident, you may have the right to sue. It is also important to note that terms and conditions may vary from case to case.

What are the less frequent symptoms that include but are not limited to whiplash/auto car accident injury?

While the common symptoms of whiplash are headaches, neck pain, and stiffness, there are some rare presentations, making the diagnosis difficult. These can be because of deep injury to the brain or spinal cord, which manifests as:

  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Tingling sensation or pain in the arms and hands
  • Lower back pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating

These symptoms are not typical of whiplash and often misguide the doctor towards other differentials.

What are the long term problems that can happen due to ignoring whiplash?

Untreated whiplash has serious long-term consequences such as neck stiffness and chronic pain. The resultant mobility issues limit neck motion, and trying to move it forcefully results in pressure on the neck, head, spine, and shoulder. Sometimes, it affects the brain and spinal cord too. Other side effects of ignoring whiplash are:

  • Vertigo
  • Chronic headaches
  • Vertebrae misalignment
  • Degenerative disc disease

These can significantly affect the quality of life in the long run, often requiring long term treatment.