Whiplash describes an acceleration/ deceleration injury to the spine. This injury usually occurs by a motor vehicle accident, however it can occur from other trauma to the spine.
The dynamics of the injury are such that the spine moves extremely quickly -- faster than the body's defense mechanisms (ligaments, muscles and tendons) can support and stabilize the spine. This very quick force applied to the spine causes damage, such as tearing and over-stretching of ligaments, muscles and tendons (figure right). Subsequently, bleeding, swelling, pain and muscle spasms usually occur in this area. Because the body's supportive connective tissue structures are damaged, the spinal bones (vertebrae) misalign causing bio-mechanical dysfunction. We take the time to discuss your treatment and condition goals.
When evaluating a patient who may have whiplash, we first perform a comprehensive medical history. We may use MRIs and CAT scans, physical examination, x-rays, computerized range of motion, and muscle studies to properly evaluate the level of the injury and determine proper goals and guidelines (figure below). Our treatment begins with the initial primary goal of controlling pain. The acute rehabilitation phase is initiated with chiropractic adjustments (manipulation) to restore proper bio-mechanical function. Passive modalities such as electric stimulation, ultrasound, and traction may also be used to decrease muscular spasms, pain and swelling. Treatment may also involve stretching the injured muscle tissue to help correct abnormal movement patterns.
As the patient progresses, more aggressive, active rehabilitation begins to strengthen and stabilize the injured area (see rehabilitation). This phase may incorporate neuromuscular re-education, weight training, and "proprioception", which incorporates how your body responds to outside influences. Some treatments may be fairly short, however the rehabilitation of some injuries takes longer.
At Broomall Total Health Center our comprehensive approach has been producing excellent outcomes for our patients. Our treatments not only restore them to their healthy pre-injury condition, but can help to prevent problems in the future. We welcome the opportunity to help you.