Whiplash: you know it affects your neck and it’s not good, but beyond that, you might not be aware of what it entails. Also known as cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome, whiplash is a common problem, but it can have many different symptoms. At ChiroCareLA in Glendale, our providers of holistic, non-invasive treatments are experts in musculoskeletal care, and treating problems in the neck is one of the most important areas of our practice. But because symptoms can start off as mild and become more serious with time, we want everyone to know to seek treatment quickly if they’re in a car crash or otherwise injured in a way that snaps their head back and forth.
When a person’s head gets rapidly thrust forward and back, the cartilage, muscles and tendons, ligaments, spinal discs, bones, and nerves in their neck may all incur small tears. This would result in soreness and stiffness, although in some cases patients only start feeling pain when they turn their heads past a certain point. These injuries could also result in pain that radiates into their heads, which would be known as a cervicogenic headache, or into their arms or upper backs. The nerves that lead to our arms emerge from our spinal cords in the lower part of our necks, and when they get stretched or swollen tissues press against them, a person may experience pain or numbness along that arm. Something similar can happen if swelling stops the flow of spinal fluid, which ends up pressed against nerves leading into the head. Muscles leading to these parts of the body also connect to neck bones and may be weakened or affected by radiating pain.
Imaging tests will help us to determine whether a patient has bone fractures or arthritis, and range-of-motion tests will allow us to further determine the extent of their injuries and which treatments are safe. If we have reason to believe the problem is an impinged nerve or blocked spinal fluid, we may perform a chiropractic adjustment to move the neck bones and discs back into place. We may also employ low-level lasers to reduce swelling and electric muscle stimulation to ease blood flow through injured back muscles. Patients’ necks may be briefly immobilized immediately after an injury, but we’ll also help them devise therapeutic exercises to rebuild their strength and flexibility.
Dr. Jack Alajajian and his staff operate ChiroCareLA.com at 815 E Colorado Suite 250, Glendale CA, 91205. Call 818-246-3600.