Neck Pain Treatment
Neck pain treatment may include :
- massage of muscles of the head, neck, shoulders, jaw and chest
- reduction of inflammation of muscles and joints
- stretching and strengthening of the neck and upper back
- spinal mobilisation or manipulation to restore the normal movement of the spine and function of nerves. It is by far the single-most effective treatment for minimizing the long-term impact of a whiplash injury, especially in conjunction with massage, trigger point therapy and exercise rehabilitation.
Causes and Mechanism of Whiplash
Some causes of whiplash include :
- a motor vehicle accident
- a ride on the dodgem cars
- jumping on the trampoline
- coughing or sneezing
There a 4 phases of a whiplash injury. For example in a car accident, the following occurs.
During the first phase, the result in an upward force in the neck compresses your discs and joints. The head then moves backward.
During phase two, the head continues to move rearward. The seat back then recoils forward, much like a springboard and this occurs while the head is still moving backward. This results in a force in the neck which is one of the more damaging aspects of a whiplash injury. Many of the injuries to nerves, discs, joints and jaw are seen to occur during this phase.
During the third phase, the torso descends back down in the seat and the head and neck are at their peak forward acceleration. Applying the brake causes the car to slow down even quicker and increases the severity of the hyperflexion injury of the neck.
This is probably the most damaging phase of the whiplash phenomenon. The torso is stopped by the seat belt and shoulder restraint and the head moves forward unimpeded, causing a violent forward-bending motion of your neck. This strains the muscles and ligaments, damaging discs, and forcing vertebrae out of their normal position. The spinal cord and nerve roots may get stretched and irritated. The brain can pound in the skull causing a mild to moderate brain trauma. If not properly restrained with a seat belt, a concussion or more severe brain injury may occur from striking the steering wheel or windshield.
Whiplash may cause the following :
Over 90% of patients complain of neck due to whiplash, which can spread to the shoulders, head and between the blades.
Headaches affect more than 80% of all whiplash sufferers. Most are related to injury of the ligaments, nerves, muscles, and joints of the neck which refer pain to the head.
A debilitating but less common disorder that resulting from whiplash is TMJ disorder. It usually begins as pain and may include clicking in the jaw during movement. TMJ dysfunction can lead to headaches, ear or facial pain.
Dizziness can result following a whiplash injury. Typically it is temporary and improves significantly with chiropractic treatment.
Low Back Pain
The low back is also commonly injured in more than half of rear end collisions and in almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes. This is mostly due to the low back compression during the first two phases of a whiplash injury.
Recovery from Whiplash
Mild whiplash injuries heal within six to nine months with the correct Whiplash treatment. However, more than 20% of those who suffer from whiplash injuries continue to suffer from weakness, pain, or restricted movement for up to two years. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these people will continue to suffer from some level of disability or pain for many years after, if not for the rest of their lives.
Whiplash is a unique condition that requires the expertise of a skilled health professional specially trained to work with these types of injuries. The most effective treatment for whiplash injuries is a combination of chiropractic care, rehabilitation of the soft tissues and taking care of yourself at home.
In some severe cases of whiplash, it may be necessary to have medical care as part of your overall treatment plan. The most common medical treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, trigger point injections or epidural spinal injections. These therapies should be used for short-term relief of pain and not be the focus of treatment. A drug cannot restore normal joint movement and stimulate healthy muscle repair. Fortunately, surgery is only needed in some cases of herniated discs, when the disc is pressing on the spinal cord, and in some cases of spine fractures.