How Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care Help Treat Whiplash

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massage therapy whiplash ajax pickering

Even with the high price of gas, summer road trips with your friends and family are likely high on your to-do list. After all, who doesn’t love to roll the windows down, crank up the music and enjoy the inviting summer breezes after a long winter spent indoors?

Unfortunately, more cars on the road mean more fender-benders and serious car accidents. For our chiropractic and massage therapy team, it means an influx of patients seeking care at our clinic for accident-related injuries.

Our Pickering chiropractic and massage therapy team has decades of experience helping patients move on from their injuries.

People injured in a motor vehicle accident sometimes experience a strain of their neck muscles and the surrounding soft tissue, commonly referred to as whiplash. Anyone who has had such an injury knows neck muscles can be very tender, and neck movement can be quite limited.

Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. Although whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma. Research shows that successful whiplash treatment requires patient cooperation and active efforts to resume daily activity.

Common signs and symptoms of whiplash usually — but not always — develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes pain medication and exercise. However, some experience chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications.

Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.

Some people also suffer from:

  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

Get Help for Your Whiplash Injury

Do not ignore whiplash-type injuries. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek a medical examination. Health care professionals are alert for the signs of more serious neck trauma.

Good News

The good news is that most whiplash injuries are not serious and will heal fully. Many people experience little disruption in their activities and are able to get on with their daily lives.

Did You Know?

Whiplash can occur from many causes, not just car accidents. For example, it can happen from falling downstairs or having something fall on your head. It can also happen when tackled or bodychecked while taking part in contact sports.

Whiplash can also occur at a relatively low impact. For example, a hit in a car accident at less than 10km/hour can cause whiplash. Pain, stiffness and other symptoms of Grade 1 (tender muscles) or Grade 2 (limited neck movement) whiplash typically start within the first two days after an accident.

Avoid Whiplash in the Future: Adjust Your Car’s Headrest

Properly adjusting the height of your car headrest will help prevent whiplash injury in an accident. In an ideal adjustment, the top of your head should be in line with the top of the headrest and there should be no more than 2 to 5 cm between the back of your head and the headrest.

How Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy Helps Treat Whiplash

Even if you seek chiropractic care complaining of neck pain following a trauma, your chiropractor will evaluate your entire spine because other regions of the spine may be affected (not just your neck). Your chiropractor will identify any areas of restricted joint motion, intervertebral disc injury, muscle spasm, and ligament injury and will also feel for tenderness, tightness, and how well your spinal joints move. In addition to performing a series of spinal adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations, your chiropractor may also prescribe therapeutic exercises to help restore normal motion in your spine and reduce whiplash symptoms.

Massage therapy helps rid the pain caused by whiplash and increases the amount of oxygen the body gives to the tissues, thus speeding up the recovery process. And by stimulating circulation and increasing the flow of oxygen, massage therapy may rid you of the headaches associated with whiplash.

Need help recovering from a whiplash injury? At Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage, chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera can evaluate and treat your injuries, and registered massage therapists Jessica Raedisch or Rolf Castanheiro will employ a variety of hands-on techniques to assess and treat the soft tissues and joints of the body. If you’re looking for chiropractic care and massage therapy in Ajax or Pickering, call our clinic at 905-427-3202 to make an appointment.