Whiplash Treatment and Diagnosis
Suffering from Neck Pain from Whiplash?
Treatment is Here
Effective Whiplash Chiropractic Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when your head suddenly moves backward and then forward. It usually happens from a car accident, but Auto Injury Treatment Centers is here to help with neck pain from whiplash treatment in Phoenix, AZ. The main symptom of whiplash is pain in the neck and shoulders. Your injury can range from mild to severe. There are multiple types of treatments available for whiplash. Learn more about how the team at Auto Injury Treatment Centers can help with our whiplash treatment options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our 45 convenient locations.
Diagnosing Whiplash at Auto Injury Treatment Centers
When you visit us for whiplash chiropractic treatment, our doctors will ask you questions about your accident and your symptoms. We’ll need to understand how severe your symptoms are as well as how often they occur. We will also need to know how well you can perform routine, everyday tasks. While some people only have minor pain from whiplash, other cases lead to more severe complications, such as disc degeneration, restricted movement, and chronic neck pain. It’s crucial to have an accurate diagnosis so you can undergo the best whiplash injury treatment options. Auto Injury Treatment Centers has offices in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Glendale, Apache Junction, and other Arizona cities to best serve you. Find a location near you!
What to Expect During Your Whiplash Examination
If you’ve never had a whiplash examination before, there’s no need to worry. Our chiropractors are experienced in diagnosing and treating many patients with whiplash. During your exam, the doctor will touch and move your head, neck, and your arms. They’ll ask you to move in specific ways and perform simple tasks. Whiplash examinations typically don’t take very long and our doctors will be able to determine if you have the condition and how severe it is. Our doctors will be able to detect the following during your whiplash examination:
- Range of motion in shoulders and neck
- Tenderness in neck, back, and shoulders
- Degree of motion that causes or increases pain
- Strength, reflexes, and sensation in your limbs
Ordering Imaging Tests for Accurate Whiplash Diagnosis
Imaging tests alone can’t determine whether a whiplash injury is present. However, your doctor will likely order at least one imaging test. This is done to rule out other conditions that might be making your neck pain worse. Sometimes whiplash can aggravate other conditions that you may not know you have. The following are the most common types of imaging tests you may undergo during your whiplash examination:
- X-Rays – Undergoing X-rays can help our doctors determine whether arthritis, fractures, or dislocations exist in the neck.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) – A CT scan is a particular type of X-ray that produces cross-sectional images of bone to show possible damage.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – This special imaging test utilizes radio waves and a magnetic field and produces detailed 3D images. MRI scans can detect bone injuries as well as soft tissue injuries such as damage to discs, ligaments, and the spinal cord.
Whiplash Treatment Options from Auto Injury Treatment Centers
If left untreated, whiplash can continue to be extremely painful and prevent you from accomplishing necessary daily activities. The main goals of whiplash treatment include controlling pain, restoring normal range of motion in your neck, and getting you back to your normal activities. Being involved in an auto accident is often a significant inconvenience. You may be without a vehicle and spend lots of time dealing with the insurance companies. We don’t want pain to make your life worse. When you visit us, we’ll create a customized whiplash treatment plan depending on the extent of your injury. While some patients only need over-the-counter medication and at-home care, others need specialized pain treatment or physical therapy as well as prescription medicines. We know that no two injuries and patients are the same. When you visit us, we’ll work to determine the best whiplash treatment program for you.
Pain Management for Whiplash Injuries
When you visit Auto Injury Treatment Centers, our doctors will recommend treatment options based on the severity of your whiplash and the results of your examination. The following whiplash symptoms treatments may be used to help you treat your pain:
- Rest – It may be beneficial to rest for a day or two after your accident or injury. However, too much bed rest could delay recovery because moving around can help you stay loose and limber.
- Heat or Cold – Apply heat or cold to your neck for 15 minutes every three hours for pain relief.
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) Pain Medications – Your doctor may recommend OTC pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB). These medications can control mild to moderate whiplash pain.
- Prescription Medications – If you have more severe pain from your accident, you may be prescribed certain antidepressant medications. These drugs can relieve nerve pain, making them appropriate whiplash medicine treatments for some.
- Muscle Relaxants – Using these medications for the short term can soothe pain and loosen tight muscles. This medication can also make you sleepy, which is a benefit for those having trouble getting a good night’s sleep from neck pain.
- Injections – The injection of a numbing medicine such as lidocaine (Xylocaine) into painful muscle areas can reduce pain, allowing you to do physical therapy.
Whiplash Treatment Exercises to Restore Range of Motion
Exercise is one of the best ways to treat whiplash, but you shouldn’t attempt to do so without visiting us first because you may make your injuries worse. Your doctor can prescribe specific stretching and movement exercises you can perform at home. Doing these exercises can assist in restoring your range of motion in your neck so you can get back to everyday activities. Before you begin your exercises, you may want to take a warm shower or apply moist heat to the painful area. Some of the exercises we may recommend for you include:
- Rotating your neck from side to side
- Bending your neck down toward your chest
- Tilting your head to the left and right
- Rolling your shoulders
Using Physical Therapy to Treat Whiplash
You may need to see a physical therapist to help with ongoing whiplash pain or range-of-motion exercises. Physical therapy can be an effective way to prevent further injury and help you feel better. A physical therapist will walk you through exercises that can strengthen muscles, restore normal movement, and improve posture. Your physical therapist can also work with you to create a personalized exercise routine you can perform at home.
Are Foam Collars Still Used for Whiplash Treatment?
You don’t see them as often as you used to, but soft foam cervical collars are sometimes used to hold the neck and head still for whiplash patients. The problem with this practice is that keeping your neck still for an extended period of time can interfere with recovery by decreasing muscle strength. Using a collar to limit movement may still be beneficial in the short term and can help you sleep at night. You might wear a collar for no more than three days or up to three hours a day, depending on your doctor’s instructions.
Alternative Approaches to Whiplash Treatment
Although research on alternative approaches to whiplash treatment is limited, some patients find the services helpful in treating pain or recovering from injury. The following optional treatments may be worth looking into:
- Acupuncture – You may find some neck pain relief with this treatment that involves inserting ultrafine needles into specific areas of the skin.
- Massage – A neck massage can relieve neck pain from whiplash injury, at least temporarily.
- Chiropractic Care – Visiting a chiropractor may provide pain relief if paired with exercise or physical therapy. There are some possible drawbacks to the manipulation of the spine, so do your research first.
- Mind-Body Therapies – You may benefit from specific exercises that incorporate gentle movements while focusing on breathing and mindfulness. Examples include yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, which may ease pain and stiffness symptoms.
Get Help for Your Whiplash Pain
After being involved in an auto accident, you may receive care on the scene or from a visit to the emergency room. Whiplash injuries don’t always cause symptoms immediately. If you have neck pain or other symptoms after your injury, you should schedule an appointment with Auto Injury Treatment Centers. We have offices throughout the Phoenix area, so contact our auto injury treatment centers today for assistance with whiplash pain.