We all love weekends filled with participating in sports, driving and possibly amusement parks. As children, we could not wait to get on the newest roller coasters, ride our bikes fast or play sports. But as we have become older, we find ourselves saying more often, “I’ll just watch you,” as we know that participating in those events could cause us to suffer from neck pain and headaches for days.
The “How” of Whiplash and Neck Pain
A whiplash injury refers to a group of injuries that occur because of a sudden, violent whipping motion of the head. The whip can happen in any direction – back-forward, forward-back, side-side or anything in between. Various injuries can result, including damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. When this injury or micro-injury occurs, a host of related symptoms may then begin, which could include neck pain, muscle stiffness, jaw pain and headaches.
Whiplash injuries most often result in a sprain-strain of the neck and/or back. This sprain occurs when the muscles and ligaments that help support, protect and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are stretched beyond their normal limits. The joints in the spine are covered by ligaments and are susceptible to whiplash injury. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Spinal discs between the vertebrae can also be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation.
The symptoms are heightened and more prevalent in degenerated spines which are already under the stress of misalignment, disc thinning and spinal vertebrae bone changes which are often accompanied with arthritic calcification. Degeneration of the spine is not based on age but life’s experiences and activities.
If you are suffering from a minor whiplash injury, one of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to remain active unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization.
Once you have had your spine checked, your chiropractor (a spinal specialist) may prescribe an exercise program. It is particularly important to follow this program as specified so that you can achieve the best long-term benefits.
Chiropractic treatments will provide neck pain relief and begin structural corrections of any misalignments that are identified. Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries.
Although prevention is the best solution, if you do suffer what you could categorize as a neck or whiplash injury, do not ignore it. See a Chiropractor, who is a trained expert in spinal and musculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractic care will restore the normal movement and position of the spinal vertebrae and help it heal properly limiting future arthritis and further injury. Restorative treatment may include exercise rehabilitation and other soft tissue rehabilitation modalities.