At Bloomingdale Chiropractic, we treat patients who have suffered auto accidents resulting in neck injuries, such as whiplash injury. Over our 27 years of experience in chiropractic services, we have seen many patients with similar questions about whiplash and headaches following auto accidents. We’ve compiled a few facts to help you navigate through what to expect if you suffer whiplash as the result of an auto accident.

What Is Whiplash Injury?

First things first, we must identify whiplash. According to the Mayo Clinic:
Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma.

Whiplash is not always an immediate result of an accident. Often, the symptoms of whiplash, such as neck stiffness, headaches, and migraines, begin to occur 6 – 12 hours after the accident and gradually worsen. If you are in an accident and you experience neck pain and head aches, it is important to schedule a visit to your doctor before your whiplash goes unmanaged and you develop chronic migraines.

Symptoms Of Whiplash

Now that we are familiar with the definition of whiplash, it is important to know the symptoms associated with whiplash:

  • Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel hard or knotted
  • Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward
  • Tenderness
  • Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate toward the forehead (migraines)

As previously stated, these symptoms can be immediate or gradual after an accident, sometimes taking up to 12 hours to appear. If you are experiencing these symptoms after an accident, it is important to seek medical attention with your doctor to prevent further damage.

One of the most common symptoms of whiplash injury is a migraine. Migraines can be triggered by damaged muscles or nerves in the neck. During whiplash, the neck is hyper extended, causing the muscles to tear (possibly) and the vertebras of the spine to be pulled or compressed out of alignment. Any of these irregularities from whiplash can trigger migraines. If left untreated, you might develop chronic migraines, as whiplash is harder to treat if there is a significant lapse of time between accident and treatment.

Treatment For Whiplash And Migraines

Spinal alignment and manipulation from a chiropractor can help alleviate the symptoms and pain caused by whiplash. Chiropractic services can help realign the spine and tighten the surrounding muscles to help maintain the proper neck posture and prevent future pains.

Once chiropractic services are used to realign the spine and regain the correct posture of the neck, we strongly recommend physical activity to strengthen the muscles around the neck and created general muscular stability to help prevent future neck injuries.

The American Chiropractic Association discusses the importance of staying active after spinal manipulation for whiplash:

Staying active

One of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to stay active, unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization. Patients should not be afraid to move and be active, within reason. In addition, your doctor will often prescribe an exercise or stretching program. It is particularly important to follow this program as prescribed, so that you can achieve the best long-term benefits.

If you have any questions concerning injuries sustained after an auto accident, such as whiplash and headaches, stop by our office

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