Our Approach to Whiplash Injuries
Early active treatment is key. Modern research shows that the faster an injured person gets moving and gets back to normal activity the quicker they recover. Chiropractic care is a total approach to whiplash management that hastens recovery and reduces the risk of developing chronic problems.
A complete examination that includes:
- Orthopedic and neurological testing.
- Neuropathic and allodynia assessments.
- Postural examination.
- Soft tissue assessment for strains, sprains, trigger points etc.
- Spinal joint examination.
- Strength and flexibility assessments.
- Other injury sites e.g. TMJ, extremities.
A treatment plan that includes:
- Control of inflammation with ice and natural anti-inflammatories.
- Emphasis on reassurance and patient centered self-care.
- Postural and ergonomic advice to reduce stress on injured tissues.
- Early use of mobilization and spinal adjustments when indicated to restore joint motion and improve flexibility.
- Use of modalities such as ultrasound, electrotherapy and traction.
- Progressive exercises that should be started immediately.
- Referral for appropriate medication or therapies if needed.
- Awareness of ‘red flags’ for cases at risk of becoming chronic.
Components of full rehabilitation:
- Emphasis on low tech exercises that the patient can do at home.
- Initially, range of motion/flexibility exercises.
- Isometric exercises to begin strengthening.
- Isotonic exercises including tubing and ball exercises to build strength and endurance.
- Proprioceptive or balance exercises are being shown to be a key component of rehab that is often neglected.
Why spinal adjustments are often vital in whiplash cases:
- Researchers such as Lord and Barnsley have shown that the source of pain in over 60% of chronic whiplash sufferers is the spinal facet joint.
- If facet joints are the source of much chronic pain then it makes sense to direct early treatment at this area for best results.
- The facet joints are commonly neglected in many treatment approaches.
- While you may not wish to adjust an acutely inflamed neck many patients’ find significant relief when adjustments are provided early on in their treatment
- We utilize the other treatment measures discussed above until the injured area can be safely adjusted.
Early chiropractic care is the best care!