Treating An Accident-Related Headache And Neck Pain

You walked away from a minor fender-bender a few days ago with little more than a stiff neck. A few days later, the headaches began and now they are severe. You have the typical symptoms of a whiplash injury. You could put up with the headaches and neck pain for several days as your body heals, or you could seek out the help of a chiropractor for whiplash relief. Here is why you have this delayed pain response and what a chiropractor will do to help get rid of the pain.

Your Body's Delayed Response

When your car was hit, your head was forced backward, then forward again violently. It happened so fast that you likely don't recall the event. This caused tiny tears in the muscles in your neck, which then contracted and become swollen to cushion your neck from further injury. Your experience from the accident was a stiff neck.

As the inflammation went down a few days later, you began to feel the pain from the torn muscles. You now have pain in your upper back, neck and shoulders. The torn muscles irritate the nerves traveling into your head creating the headaches. Only now are you feeling the full extent of the injuries you received from the car accident.

Chiropractic Treatment of Whiplash

The chiropractic clinic will focus on relaxing the tense muscles in your neck to relieve the pain. The treatment also promotes healing by:

  • increasing the blood circulation in your upper back, shoulders and neck
  • reducing the inflammation throughout the area
  • removing scar tissue in the muscles from the tiny tears

Your chiropractor will offer one or more treatment options to relieve your pain.

Realigning the Spine

The chiropractor will take X-rays to check on the alignment of the bones in your spinal column. An accident can cause the vertebrae to become misaligned, called a subluxation. These tiny changes in the alignment of the bones puts stress on the spine and irritates the nerves moving through the spinal column. The doctor will move your spine around to put the vertebrae back into their proper position and relieve the tension on your spine.

Relaxing Tense Muscles

Using a procedure called active release technique, the chiropractor will massage tense muscles in the direction that they normally move. This causes them to relax and expand back to their natural lengths. When the doctor feels scar tissue in the muscles from the tears, they will apply pressure to break up the scars. Scar tissue blocks the blood circulation in the muscles and slows down healing.

Relieving Muscle Spasms

You may also have muscles that are so tense that they create a knot under the skin. The knot may produce painful muscle spasms. The chiropractor will use the myofascial release technique to push on these knots with their knuckles or a special tool until the knot relaxes.

Keeping the Muscles Relaxed

Your chiropractor may recommend physical therapy to keep your neck and shoulders limber once they have relieved the muscle tension in the area. Range of motion exercises are used to prevent the muscles from becoming tense and keep you from developing a stiff neck again. The physical therapy also increases the blood flow in the area to promote healing of the muscle tears. Contact a business, such as TLC Chiropractic, for more information.