It can be hard to know the difference between having neck pain and actually having whiplash. Figuring out which one it is can be difficult so Chicago Chiropractic will walk you through some ways of how you can decipher.
Whiplash versus pain in the neck…
Technically, whiplash is as an injury to the neck, by moving the head forward and then backward in a rapid fashion which places strain on the neck muscles and ligaments. Whiplash is most common within car accidents such as a rear-end scenario, or sadly even physical abuse (such as shaken baby syndrome) or contact sports. To help you define whether or not you have whiplash, here are some symptoms –
• Restricted joint movement in spine or limbs
• Displacement of spinal discs, also known as a herniation, which causes sharp pain down one or both arms; It also can create small tears in spinal tissue and damage the nervous system, which is followed by numbness, tingling and muscle weakness
• Chronic pain in the neck area
• Cognitive dysfunction that may include difficulty concentrating
Here are some tips on when you should see a chiropractor:
If you have unrelated neck pain that persists for a period of time or if you experience:
• A shooting pain through one or both arms
• Tingling or numb feeling in one or both arms or hands
• Inability to touch chin to your chest
You may want to see a chiropractor, such as Dr. Michael Kauf, or other medical professional as they can diagnose an underlying problem. If you are not having any of the symptoms or find it goes away after changing positions, it may just be the result of poor posture.
For some, neck pain resulting from an accident can be treated with ice and a light brace. Other times, it may disappear on its own or a person may find themselves feeling:
• Pain in their jaw
• Significant damage to ligaments, discs, nerves or joints
• Difficult to swallow
• Irritability or unable to concentrate
If any of these symptoms persist, you should see a chiropractor and seek chiropractic care so that x-rays can be performed to determine if there is an underlying problem.
When you see the chiropractor…
The primary objective of the chiropractor is to use gentle manipulations that treat the spine and discs so that they are aligned properly. These manipulations are also designed to reduce muscle spasms and rebuild muscle strength with the aid of physical therapy.
The chiropractor will first focus on reducing inflammation and will need to check the neck, mid and low back. From there, the range of motion, disc injuries and muscle spasms will be examined. Other things that a chiropractor would need to examine are the patient’s way of walking, posture and spinal alignment. A comprehensive exam provides an understanding of the individuals’ body mechanics. X-rays and /or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be taken along with the patient medical history to determine whether they can be treated.
Some cases of whiplash may only require ice and heat therapy to reduce inflammation and attempt to relax the muscles. If you are looking for non-medicinal treatment versus chiropractic care or physician treatment, you can try acupuncture, massage or Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
If you or someone you know may have experienced any or all of symptom described, then you may want to share this information with them or give our office at Chicago Chiropractic a call at (312) 337-4004 to make an appointment.