A few days ago, you had a minor fender-bender in your car and today you woke up with terrible neck pain and a headache. This delayed response is typical of whiplash injury from even a minor car accident. A visit to a local chiropractic clinic will alleviate the pain and help the injuries to heal faster. Here is why you have this delayed pain response and what your chiropractor can do to help.
How a Whiplash Injury Happens
During an accident, the head is forced backwards violently then forward again. This creates small tears in the soft tissues in the neck area. These tissues swell up and cushion themselves against further injury. This causes you to feel like you have a stiff neck right after the accident.
In a few days, the inflammation goes down and your body begins to respond to the tissue damage. You'll have pain throughout your neck and shoulder region. The nerves traveling through that area up into your head are irritated, resulting in the headaches you now have. The pain and irritation in the area causes more inflammation, so now you feel pain and have a stiff neck again. The cycle of inflammation and pain continues until the tissues are healed.
Chiropractic Treatment of Whiplash Injuries
A chiropractic clinic will focus on the injured muscles in the upper back, shoulder and neck areas. Through non-invasive treatment, the chiropractor helps the muscles to relax and the inflammation to go away. One or more of the following treatment options can be used to treat your neck injury.
Active Release Technique - The chiropractor feels along your neck and upper back for muscles that are tense and inflamed. The doctor will then massage those muscles in the direction of their normal movement. This relaxes the tense muscles and reduces the inflammation. Circulation is improved in the area which helps the muscles to heal.
Myofascial Release Technique - When injured muscles become so tense that they develop a knot under the skin, you can have painful muscle spasms. When the chiropractor finds these knots, they apply steady pressure over them with their knuckles or a special tool. This encourages the muscles to relax, getting rid of the spasms and the pain.
Physical Therapy - Your chiropractor like Anthony Iuzzolino DC may also recommend physical therapy to keep the muscles from becoming tense again once they have helped them to relax. Hot and cold packs with range-of-motion exercises will keep your muscles from tensing up while they are healing. This helps to keep away the neck pain and headaches while your body heals.