by Benjamin Ozanne, D.C.
What Exactly Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a particular type of neck injury. It’s sustained when the head and neck are rapidly moved forward and back. This quick jerking motion can occur during a car accident, sports game or other incident. As is the case with many injuries, whiplash can vary in severity from mild to extremely severe.
What Symptoms Does Whiplash Cause?
Whiplash is primarily characterized by stiffness and pain in the neck. The stiffness and pain may worsen with movement or when the neck is in a particular position. In addition to these tell-tale symptoms, patients may also experience:
- Headaches, usually where the head and neck meet
- Blurred vision
- Memory loss
- Tinnitus (which is ringing in the ears)
When these symptoms are caused by whiplash, they usually develop within 24 hours of the injury.
What Treatment Is Available for Whiplash?
Many cases of whiplash are relatively minor, and the symptoms they cause may go away on their own. When symptoms continue, however, there are several treatment options available. A chiropractor or other health care provider might recommend:
- A Chiropractic Adjustment
- Physical or Massage Therapy
- Cold or Hot Packs
- Therapeutic Exercises
In addition to these natural treatment options, medical doctors may also use medication or surgery to treat whiplash. Often, however, the condition can be treated without medicine or the need for surgery.
Who Treats Whiplash?
Both chiropractors and medical doctors provide whiplash treatments. As mentioned, doctors frequently use medication, and sometimes they recommend surgery. Chiropractors, in contrast, focus on natural treatment options.
Patients may choose to see either a chiropractor or a doctor, or they can even see both. Often, chiropractic and medical treatments can be used in conjunction with each other to provide a more comprehensive and effective level of care. Of course, patients who are seeing both a doctor and chiropractor should let each provider know so that they can coordinate care if it’s necessary to do so.