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Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain, is injury to the neck. Whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. In whiplash, the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged.

Whiplash is caused by an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking motion of the head, often as a result of a car accident.

Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. However, people who experience whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

 

When treating a sprain, the doctor will first ice down the injured area to reduce swelling.  Once the joint can be manipulated, she will then go through a series of easy stretches and range of motion exercises.  The next step is to perform a chiropractic adjustment on the spine and the areas connecting it to the injured body part.  For example, a sprained foot may require adjustments to the foot, knee, hip, pelvis, and spinal cord.  This will ensure that your body is in the correct alignment so that the sprained ligament can heal properly.

The office visit is not all that is involved when you treat sprains using a chiropractor.  After making the adjustments, you will be given a list of home exercises that should be done between appointments.  The main emphasis is on core stability and balanced muscle strength.  Once the sprained ligament is past the point of acute injury, the exercises will be crucial to the rehabilitation of the joint and the surrounding muscles and tendons.

 

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