Whiplash is an injury to the neck muscles and underlying soft tissue from rapid forward and backward motion of the spine caused by a trauma like a car accident. It can cause acute neck and back pain, headaches, numbness in the arms or legs, as well as result in restricted movement in your neck and back. In the long term, if not properly treated, whiplash injuries can lead to advanced degenerative changes in the spinal structure. We routinely see patients that have been involved in an accident 5-10 years prior that have bulging or even herniated discs as a result of improper treatment of a whiplash injury.
How does our care differ from Medical care in regards to a Whiplash Injury?
We will begin by evaluating your entire spine—even if you presently experince only neck pain following an accident. Our doctors will examine the entire spine because the force of the trauma is distributed throughout the entire spine.
We will perform a thorough orthopedic and neurologic exam looking at the function and health of the muscles, ligaments and nerves related to the spine. We also examine posture and range of motion (how well your spine moves). Unlike a visit to the ER where they are looking for life threatening injuries and fractures, we work to uncover underlying injuries to the soft tissues that may lead to life long problems if not treated.
Along with a thorough examination of your spine, we may order an x-ray or an MRI of your spine to evaluate any structural and alignment changes as a result of the whiplash. The diagnostic images and results of your physical and neurological evaluation are analyzed to develop the best, most appropriate and effective treatment plan.
What kind of treatment will I receive in your clinic?
The treatment you receive will be based on the severity of your injuries. The foundation of our treatment is the chiropractic spinal adjustment. The adjustment is a correction of the misaligned vertebra in the spine that resulted from the trauma. Misalignments, or subluxations, result in abnormal motion of the spinal segments, irritation to the spinal cord or nerves and increased pressure on the intervertebral disc. The result of a subluxation can be complex including local or radiating pain, numbness, tingling or even weakness in a muscle or group of muscles.
In addition to the chiropractic adjustment, we may provide therapeutic modalities and rehabilitation to assist in the healing of the muscle, tendon and ligament injuries that occur with a whiplash. These modalities and procedures may include:
• Electrical Muscle Stimulation: This therapy uses a low frequency electrical current to help stimulate muscles, which can ultimately reduce inflammation, re-educate the muscles on proper contraction and reduce pain.
• Ultrasound: By increasing blood circulation, ultrasound can help decrease muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain in your neck or back. Ultrasound works by sending sound waves deep into muscle and soft tissues to create a gentle heat that increases circulation and promotes healing.
• Spinal Traction/Decompression: In the event of a disc injury, mechanically assisted long axis distraction can help reduce pressure on the damage disc alleviating nerve irritation, reducing inflammation and helping to restore proper alignment.
• Rehabilitative Exercises: Aiding in the corrective process after a whiplash, exercise training helps to restore normal motion and strength to the spine. Exercises may be done in the clinic under supervision as well as at home. Rehabilitation is key to ensuring proper correction of the whiplash injury.
How do I pay for my care?
In the State of Minnesota, you are covered for the treatment of your injuries that resulted from your car accident. That means no copay, no co-insurance and no deductibles. In most cases there will be no out of pocket expense for your treatment in our clinic. You have 1 calendar year from the date of your car accident to seek treatment and have it covered.
We have well trained staff that will file all of your claims and work with your insurance company to ensure that your bills are paid. All you have to do is focus on getting better.
How do I get started?
If you have been involved in a car accident it is important to take action immediately. Simply call our office at 320.763.9711 or click here to schedule an appointment. Your first appointment for the examination generally takes an hour, so please plan accordingly.
We look forward to helping you get well, feel better and get back to living!