One of the most common traumatic injuries to the neck is known as whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the neck is forcefully put into maximum extension, followed by strong forward flexion. In other words, the head is jerked both backwards and forwards very forcefully. This kind of injury most commonly see occurs in motor vehicle accidents.
During whiplash, the musculature and soft tissue surrounding the spine (tendons/ligaments) are injured. In some cases there can even be spinal fractures. When the neck is forcefully put back into extension it puts a great deal of stress on the joints of the neck, as well as stretches the muscles in the front of the neck. Muscles such as the scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapula, and upper trapezius, are just a few that may be injured. Additionally, when the head is goes all the way forward into flexion, the muscles and ligaments in the back of the neck are often times slightly torn. Ligaments such as the interspinous ligament and ligamentum flavum can tear.
If a whiplash injury goes untreated, it can result in chronic neck pain. Chiropractors are a viable option for treating patients with whiplash injuries. In the acute phase immediately following the injury, passive modalities are most appropriate. These type of treatments include: gentle range of motion exercises, massage, and electric muscle stimulation to decrease pain and inflammation. As the patients’ recovery continues, strengthening exercises for the damaged muscles are typically prescribed. Manual therapy and spinal manipulation can also help decrease pain and improve function.
In Rochester, New York, there are thousands of motor vehicle accidents a year. Even in the least severe accidents, there is trauma to the body that would benefit from chiropractic care. If you or anyone you know in Rochester is suffering from a whiplash injury that is resulting in neck pain, give us a call at Rochester ChiroTherapy.
Rochester ChiroTherapy is one of the fastest growing chiropractors in Rochester.