Car Accidents

The Tragic Result of Uncorrected Trauma

Collisions that occur during sporting events, slips, falls or automobile accidents can all have a damaging effect on your neck and back and could require personal injury chiropractic in Burien Washington or Normandy Park as well.  These types of collision-related injuries are often called a “whiplash”.  The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can contribute to headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulders, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and lower back problems.  As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear until weeks or even months later.

Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another object.  When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments supporting the head and spine can be stretched or torn.  The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear, or rupture.  Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion.

Whiplash injuries that are left untreated may lead to conditions such as degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease.  These conditions are progressive and over time may lead to further complications.

Personal injury chiropractic Burien Wa

Treatments commonly used to identify and care for whiplash injuries:

Chiropractic Care

If you have suffered a whiplash-type injury to the neck, chiropractic care is a good choice to reduce pain and return proper mechanics to the cervical spine.

To understand the chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries, it is important to briefly review the nature of this type of neck injury. Whiplash is characterized as an injury to the muscles of the neck from the traumatic rapid forward and backward motion of the neck during an accident.

Chiropractic emphasizes a comprehensive picture of the mechanisms of neck sprain. As important as muscle injury is the response of the nervous system to trauma, and the injury to deeper tissues of the spine with resulting restriction or fixation of spinal joints.

The acute pain and restricted motion you experience after a whiplash injury is a product of injured tissue, and the protective response of the nervous system as it locks up spinal joints to protect you from possible injury to the spinal cord.

Chiropractic care emphasizes mobilizing restricted spinal joints and initiating rapid firing of neurological receptors using spinal manipulation, including non-force techniques. Chiropractic will address the disturbed mechanics and the neurological responses that allow for treating the cause of neck injury and return a full functioning to injured spinal joints.

It is important to emphasize that spinal manipulation is introduced only when the initial traumatic muscle injury is stabilized. Various types of treatments are used depending on the stage of your whiplash injury.

The Stages of Whiplash Treatment

Shortly after the injury, in the acute phase, reducing inflammation is the main priority with therapy modalities such as ice, gentle stretching and manual therapies.

As the neck begins to be less inflamed and acute, gentle spinal manipulation, or adjusting, in order to return motion to spinal joints that have locked up and become restricted as a result of the injury. In some patients, non-thrusting and non-force methods are more appropriate.

Chiropractic Care and Whiplash

Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in the care of non-surgical conditions of the neck with gentle, time-saving approaches that address the mechanical and neurological causes of whiplash injury.

Chiropractors are rigorously trained to diagnosis the different types of neck injuries  Our doctors will take an extensive history and provide a comprehensive examination to determine what tissues have been injured in an accident and what spinal joints may be restricted in motion.

The goal of chiropractic care in treating whiplash injuries is to optimize motion in the spine, treat the spinal discs, reduce muscle spasm and improve muscular strength.

Chiropractors are specialists in spinal manipulation—an active, hands-on care that returns motion to the spine. The restricted motion and disturbed mechanics that characterize whiplash injuries are especially helped by spinal manipulation in patients who are considered good candidates for this approach.

Some spinal manipulation techniques are:

* Specific spinal manipulation: The chiropractor identifies the joints that are restricted or show abnormal motion, also called subluxations, and returns motion to the joint with a gentle thrusting technique. This gentle thrusting rapidly stretches soft tissue and stimulates the nervous system to return normal motion to the spine.

* Instrument-assisted manipulation: This is another non-thrusting technique. Using a hand-held instrument, the chiropractor can apply force without thrusting into the spine. This is especially appropriate in older patients with degenerative joint syndrome.
Focused Muscle Therapies

Trigger point therapy: The chiropractor identifies specific hypertonic (tight), painful points on a muscle. He or she puts direct pressure (using the fingers) on these points to relieve the tension.

Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques: Muscle energy therapy, an osteopathic technique, is is an example of a resistance manual joint therapy.

Massage Therapy

Performed by a licensed massage therapist and designed to help reduce muscle spasm  promote proper drainage of swelling in tissue and prevent unnecessary scar tissue formation.

Fitness and Rehabilitation Programs

It is important to remember that whiplash injuries cause muscle tears and stretching of ligaments.  After the acute whiplash stage has passed it is important to strengthen and stabilize the area.  Your doctor will put together a customized plan for your unique case.  These exercises are often demonstrated in office and can be performed in the comfort of your own home.

In House X-ray Suite

Before treatment begins it is important to rule out the possibility that a fracture may have occurred during the accident.  X-rays can also help detect other underlying conditions that may alter your treatment course or require further investigation.

Outside Referrals for MRI, CT, Medical and other tests

Your doctor works closely with other health professionals in order to make sure you receive the best care possible.

If you have been hurt in a car accident and want to know if you can be helped with chiropractic care… please call our office at 206-429-2922 to schedule an appointment.