The body is very adaptive in some ways, and yet very restrictive in others. For example, our immune system can efficiently adapt to fight the bacteria in our environment to keep us healthy and strong; however, the slightest structural imbalance in the spine can lead to chronic pain and degenerative conditions, like arthritis. A common example of a condition that can lead to significant problems if not properly treated is whiplash. Riding in a car is a very modern way of traveling, but can also leave us vulnerable to auto accidents, more specifically rear-end collisions. Dr. Phil Golinsky, the lead chiropractor at RxWellness Spine & Health, met up with Good Morning Washington to discuss the effects of whiplash and how RxWellness Spine & Health can help.
What is Whiplash
Whiplash is the technical term for a sprain in the neck muscles. It can occur from any impact that causes the neck to be forcibly jerked forward and then backward and is the most common injury sustained in a rear-end collision. According to Dr. Phil Golinsky, this is known as a transference of force. He explains that when, “a three thousand pound vehicle…transfers its force from an area of larger mass to an area of smaller mass…it transfers its force into…our bodies,” however, our bodies are unable to absorb all that applied force, so we often sustain injuries that come in the form of internal bleeding, damaged organs, and most commonly whiplash. “That’s a law of physics,” he says, “happens all the time.” When a person is rear-ended, the impact of all that force typically results in strained neck muscles and a misalignment in the structure of the spine.
Oftentimes, if the vertebrae in the neck become misaligned during an auto collision, they can compress the nerves in the neck, which can contribute to significant pain. If the issue is not immediately addressed, the area will heal incorrectly resulting in chronic pain and preventable problems. For example, the discs between our vertebrae act as natural shock absorbers, and they have a multitude of important functions, which also include preventing our bones from rubbing together and wearing away. Dr. Phil explains that the spinal, “discs are supposed to last a lifetime, [but] if the spine is out of alignment, then these discs will wear quicker. The bones are going to become more arthritic quicker.” When those discs go, that’s it, they do not regenerate. And at that point, your only option is to spend the rest of your life trying to manage pain. This is why it is important to have yourself examined after an accident and work with a chiropractor to correct misalignments early.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash
It is always highly recommended to have a full examination if you have been involved in any type of auto accident that causes any amount of force to be moved through your body. Immediately after an incident, your body is in survival mode, you might be in shock, and as Dr. Phil clearly states, “you have adrenaline running through your body, you’re not going to feel any pain,” so it is important to get checked out and cleared by a medical professional, as opposed to assuming you are fine and then running into problems years later.
Dr. Phil does a great job of clearly explaining the symptoms of whiplash, and simply states that once the shock and adrenaline wear off, “you’re going to have soreness in your neck, you’re going to have soreness in the back of your neck. You’re going to have soreness throughout your head. You’re going to have headaches. You’re going to have fatigue. You’re going to have…[a reduced ability to]…remember things. You’re going to forget things because your body is in a shock[ed] state and it’s in healing mode, and survival mode.” He additionally states that, “there are…things that you’re not going to feel right about, [like] sleeping a lot. These are [all] signs of whiplash.”In addition to the list of symptoms named by Dr. Phil, some other common signs of whiplash include:
- Stiffness or reduced mobility
- Tingling or numbness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty swallowing
If you find that you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important that you give us a call and explain the situation, so we can get you in front of a chiropractor immediately.
Why Work With RxWellness Spine & Health?
When asked what sets your practice apart from others, Dr. Phil simply answered, “all of our doctors have advanced degrees in soft tissue injury.” He goes on to say, “we’ve taken extracurricular[s] beyond what normal chiropractic colleges [require] so, we have…degree[s] on soft tissue injury.” When you suffer from a whiplash injury, both the muscle and the spine are affected, so the best course of treatment will address both problems. At RxWellness Spine & Health, our chiropractors are experts in both.
How We Treat a Whiplash Injury at RxWellness Spine & Health
When you schedule a consultation with RxWellness Spine & Health, you can feel confident knowing we have the tools to properly diagnose and treat your condition. Dr. Phil explains, we have X-ray machines in all our Virginia and Maryland offices that can pinpoint structural issues of the spine, as well as ultrasound devices to identify soft tissue injuries. He further explains that our, “digital x-rays immediately can show you the structure and the function of the spine. If the structure is off, we can immediately show the person…what needs to take place,” to facilitate an efficient and effective recovery process.
Once we have correctly diagnosed the issue, we can begin the healing process. Your doctor will recommend whatever course of action they believe will provide you with the most relief. They will possibly recommend regular neck adjustments to realign the vertebrae in the back and neck that might have shifted during the impact of the accident. In addition to targeting the spine, they will also recommend treatments to heal the muscles in the affected area. Each patient will receive a different treatment plan, and each plan will be uniquely matched to the specific needs of each patient. Some of the services we offer across our clinics include:
- Dry needling
- Soft tissue manipulation
- Spinal decompression
- Cold laser therapy
- Active release technique
- And more
Your care team will get to know your needs and combine the services that will work best for your recovery needs.
Tips on How to Heal Properly
Dr. Phil passionately states, “if it heals properly then we’re good, if we heal wrong we’re not good twenty or thirty years later,” so here are two very important tips that can help you heal properly and prevent problems in the future.
The best tip for a full whiplash recovery is to schedule your consultation early, even if you are not in any pain. If you are involved in an auto accident, there are a lot of steps that need to happen on the scene with all the drivers present, and even more behind the scenes with lawyers and insurance companies. But as soon as you can safely do so, schedule your consultation to get yourself cleared or treated.
The next, and possibly most important, tip to heal properly is to stick with your recommended treatment plan until it comes to its predetermined conclusion. That means if the doctor recommends 2x a week for 6 weeks, then you want to stick with the plan for the entire six weeks. This is because an effective care plan will significantly reduce pain, but the pain is not a reliable indicator of the injury. Oftentimes, people end their care plans early because they feel great, but the deep source of the problem is not completely healed. Then as they go about their day, the original problem slowly gets worse, until the pain is back to its original intensity and they have to start the healing process all over again. Therefore, a very important tip on recovery is to let your doctor clear you. At RxWellness Spine & Health, we can utilize x-ray machines and ultrasound equipment to ensure the problem is fully resolved, allowing you to safely return to your normal lifestyle.
Contact RxWellness Spine & Health
Easily one of the most vital takeaways from our conversation with Dr. Phil is the importance of correcting spinal misalignments as soon as they arise. This will prevent the problem from healing incorrectly and contributing to conditions in the future. If you were involved in an auto accident and suspect you might have sustained a whiplash injury, give us a call. We will effectively diagnose the condition and recommend the best course of action to help you see the best results and prevent any future complications. If you have additional questions or would like to set up a consultation at any of our offices across Virginia and Maryland, please give us a call at 1(703) 904 9666 or book a consultation online.