Treatment for Whiplash From Car Accident
Car accidents are very common. Whiplash injuries from car accidents are also quite common, yet treatment quality and effectiveness varies greatly. Here’s an overview of ideal treatment for whiplash injuries.
First, it is undisputed in the medical and scientific literature that the best treatment for whiplash from car accidents is Chiropractic care. No other type of doctor is as well trained in the workings of the spine than a chiropractor and no other treatment can rival the effectiveness as chiropractic for this condition.
But all chiropractors are the same right? I can just pick the closest one to home or my office, right?
Just like medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic have specializations. Your family doctor will probably refer you to a dermatologist if they see a suspicious mole or an oncologist if you have cancer. Same to for chiropractors. A general family chiropractor may be just fine treating everyday aches and pains, but when it comes to accident cases, they may lack the knowledge to accurately diagnose and document your injuries and then provide a treatment plan that passes muster with not only insurance companies, but with courts of law as well. There are chiropractors who have specific specialization training in car accident injuries. These doctors study not only injuries to your body, but also crash dynamics, biomechanics and have a good understanding of the legal requirements of documentation of cause of injury and impairments. A specialist will also have a team of other specialists to consult with to insure you have the best care possible for your traumatic injuries.
During the first days and up to a month after a car accident, treatments such as heat, ice, electrical therapy, cold laser, gentle massage and stretching, range of motion exercises and chiropractic spinal adjustments are given to begin the healing process by decreasing inflammation, spasm and pain. This treatment is frequent, 3-5 times per week, to get pain relief quickly. If pain persists too long, it can lead to neuro-chemical changes that can prolong recovery. At home care is often given to maintain/improve spinal motion and stretch tight muscles. High energy or strenuous exercises, recreational and work activities should be avoided during this phase of whiplash treatment.
After pain, spasm and inflammation have subsided to a tolerable level, active treatment commences. Active, resistance exercises of the spine are performed to improve strength, traction and spinal molding may be used to restore spinal alignment, deep tissue massage and muscle therapy may be used to rid the muscles of scar tissue knots and chiropractic adjustments are given to maximize spinal movement and function. Treatment frequency during this phase is typically declining from 3 times per week to 2, then 1. During this time you will be given specific active exercises to perform at home daily to aid in your recovery and you will probably gradually return to pre-injury recreational and work activities under your doctor’s supervision.
How Can I Make My Whiplash Treatment More Effective?
Your car accident specialist knows how to get you well, so follow instructions. When he/she says rest, you rest. When you are told to do exercises, do them. If you are instructed to do exercise only once a day, do not do them 2 or 3 times. Drink lots of water. Water flushes out the debris left behind by your body rebuilding itself. For an average adult, 5 bottles of water per day is a good goal. If your doctor tells you to take certain nutritional supplements, take them. Injuries heal better when key nutrients are abundantly available in your blood stream. Lastly, get extra sleep. Sleep is a time for your body to rebuild, recover and reboot itself. When you are injured, your body requires extra sleep to deal with the extra energy demands of repairing traumatic injuries.
This is a general plan of treatment for whiplash from a car accident. Each patient is an individual and no two injuries are the same, therefore each patient will have a personalized care plan designed to address their specific injuries.