Whiplash and Chiropractic

At P.I. HELP Chiropractic and Injury Clinics in Salt Lake City (Murray), UT and San Antonio, TX, we are experts in treating whiplash injuries related to auto accidents. We care a lot about educating our patients about car and truck accident injuries and treatments. Let’s take a close look at whiplash.

On average the adult human head weighs about 10 pounds. The neck in comparison is a lot smaller in diameter and lighter in weight which means it can easily be injured in a rear-end car, truck or semitruck accident. Let’s take a quick look at the biomechanics or the motion that occurs in the neck when someone is rear-ended. First, the upper part of the neck is forced into flexion, in other words the chin is forced downward toward the chest. Then, within 0.2 seconds the mid and lower neck is forced into hyperextension or in other words the head goes backward. This all happens so quickly that the muscles do not have time to react so the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, etc.) in the front of the neck and the back part of the neck are stretched, compressed and injured. To make things even worse, many auto accident victims report that their head was rotated or turned at the time of the collision as they were looking into their rear-view mirror. This rotation right before impact creates pre-torque or twisting and increases the forces and strain on the joints in the neck. Another factor in the biomechanics of a whiplash injury is the seatbelt. Seatbelts have prevented many injuries and deaths but they also act as a fulcrum or hinge at the time of impact which increases the injury to the neck.

Whiplash symptoms after a car, truck or semi-truck accident initially are mild but become more intense within 48 to 72 hours after the accident. The most common symptoms after a whiplash injury are headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, stiffness in the neck, dizziness, visual disturbances and difficulties with hearing. Whiplash injuries are usually diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms that the patient is exhibiting. It is important to note that most whiplash injuries do not show up on x-ray and the x-ray report is normal. Most patients report feeling better after a whiplash injury within 4 to 6 weeks. Chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation therapy can help speed up the time it takes to recover. But there are some patients that will develop chronic or long-term neck pain and/or arm pain after 6 weeks. Surgery is rarely recommended as a treatment for patients suffering from whiplash injuries due to a car, truck or semitruck accident.

At P.I. HELP Chiropractic and Injury Clinics, we believe that each patient’s whiplash injuries are unique and need to be treated on an individual basis. Active chiropractic care in combination with physical rehabilitation therapy with a return to normal daily activities seems to be the most common treatment in resolving whiplash related symptoms. The doctors at P.I. HELP Chiropractic and Injury Clinics will use a combination of chiropractic treatments for whiplash based off the chiropractic exam which may include: chiropractic spinal manipulation, physical rehabilitation therapy which involves stretching and strengthening injured soft tissue, electrical muscle stimulation to help decrease pain and muscle tightness, along with postural and lifestyle changes.

The personalized chiropractic and physical rehabilitation therapy recommended at P.I. HELP may also include homecare instructions like using ice or cold packs for 20 minutes at a time. This can be done over a t-shirt or towel the first few days after a whiplash injury to help decrease swelling and pain. Chiropractic homecare instruction may also include decreasing daily activities or limiting movement until the neck and upper back have more time to heal. Chiropractic physicians generally do not recommend that whiplash patients wear a cervical collar or neck brace to immobilize or restrain movement in the neck after a car, truck or semitruck accident because this frequently makes the problem worse and allows neck muscles to weaken which causes more problems in the neck.

Please contact our clinics for more information about chiropractic or physical rehabilitation therapy for whiplash caused by a car, truck or semitruck accident or to be referred to a TOP personal injury attorney in the San Antonio, TX area or Salt Lake City, UT area including: Murray, West Valley City, South Jordan, West Jordan, Draper, Midvale, Taylorsville and Kearns, UT.
San Antonio, TX Clinic: 4423 NW Loop 410 Suite 203, San Antonio, TX 78229
Call us or send us a text at (210) 249-4949

Salt Lake City (Murray), UT Clinic: 154 E. Myrtle Ave. Suite 100, Murray, UT 84107
Call us or send us a text at (801) 210-5050

Reference: Silber JS, Hayes VM, Lipetz J, Vaccaro AR. Whiplash: fact or fiction? Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2005 Jan;34(1):23-8. PMID: 15707135.