Whiplash

Whiplash Treatment North Vancouver:

 

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury, which occurs due to forceful rapid back-and-fourth movement of the head and neck. A whiplash injury may lead to a variety of symptoms and limitations, which are referred to as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD). Whiplash typically occurs following a motor vehicle accident. Rear-end crashes are more likely to cause whiplash associated pain; but side and front impact MVA’s can also cause whiplash. Whiplash can occur as a result of a blow to the front or the crown of the head or other forms of head trauma, or falls.

 

Due to the forceful extension and flexion associated with whiplash the neck, upper back and or shoulders are often exposed to extreme loads, which can tear tissues and injure the spinal discs and joints. Whiplash is a unique type of injury and often leads to unusual symptoms and persistent pain. Chiropractors are the most qualified doctors to consult for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of whiplash injuries because of their extensive training in spinal biomechanics and knowledge of complex spinal anatomy.

 

Whiplash Small

Common Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash Associated Disorder:

The following is a list of the 10 most reported symptoms associated with whiplash injury:

  • Neck Pain/Restricted range of motion

  • Headache

  • Shoulder pain

  • Anxiety

  • Back pain

  • Depression

  • Visual symptoms

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

  • Dizziness

Symptoms may occur immediately after the injury but often occur several days after the injury. Other symptoms may include:

  • Numbness or tingling into the arms/hands.

  • Nausea

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Balance issues

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

  • Blurred vision

  • Light-headedness

  • Fainting

  • Fatigue

  • Concussion

 

Diagnosis of Whiplash Associated Disorder:

Diagnosis of whiplash will be made based on an in-depth history and physical examination. The examination will include: range of motion testing, soft tissue and joint palpation, a neurological examination and other orthopaedic/functional tests. Chiropractors are primary health care providers and are experts in the diagnosis and management of neck disorders including whiplash, therefore you do not need a referral from a medical doctor in order to receive chiropractic care for whiplash injuries (including ICBC claims). Early diagnosis and treatment of whiplash is especially important because some individuals are at risk of developing chronic pain. Early treatment, education, and encouragement will help to prevent long-term disability and pain. Whiplash injuries will be graded from 1-4 based on the severity of signs and symptoms following the injury.

  • Grade 0: no signs and symptoms present after whiplash event.

  • Grade 1: patient has pain but no physical limitations during examination: ie: normal range of motion, normal strength & no swelling.

  • Grade II: patient has pain along with limitations in range of motion, spasm, swelling, and or tenderness.

  • Grade III: patient has pain, physical limitations (as discussed above) in addition to neurological signs such as: burning, numbness, tingling, weakness etc.

  • Grade IV: patient has pain and upon x-ray examination a fracture or dislocation.

 

Treatment for Whiplash Associated Disorder: 

Following an initial examination the chiropractors at Mountain Health and Performance will provide a diagnosis and appropriate plan of management. We may take x-rays in office, if we are concerned about specific history and or examination findings and work directly with our patient’s medical doctors in order to maintain communication and continuity of care. Patient co-management with the massage therapists and naturopath in the clinic is an important part of our patient centred care philosophy.

Following any soft-tissue injury a normal part of the body’s healing process is the formation of scar tissue, in addition to protective muscle guarding. Unfortunately, these changes can lead to long-term joint stiffness, pain and tension, even after the tissues have had enough time to “heal”. Our chiropractors employ the following treatments (often in combination) in order to address all aspects of whiplash injuries (joint, muscle, ligament etc.):

 

Spinal manipulation:

Manipulation is an effective treatment for the management of various conditions of the spine, especially in cases of whiplash. Restoring normal joint function and motion following the injury will allow the joints to heal more quickly and help to prevent chronic joint pain. In some cases spinal manipulation may not be appropriate based on the patients symptoms, comfort level and proximity to the initial injury.

 

Mobilization:

At Mountain Health and Performance we utilize a wide variety of treatments to accommodate various types of injuries and our patients preference. Mobilization, which is a slower stretching of the joints, is also an option for patients, which helps to decrease joint pain and improve joint range of motion.

 

Myofascial Release Therapy: 

Whiplash also involves injury to the muscles, fascia and other soft-tissues. Myofascial release techniques including, Active Release Technique (ART) and or Functional Release (FR) will be utilized in order to promote proper soft-tissue healing and to break down scar tissue. This will help to decrease muscle tension and pain and can be helpful for headaches associated with WAD as well.

 

Laser Therapy: 

Laser therapy may also be utilized in the initial stages of injury in order to decrease pain, increase blood flow and increase energy for cellular healing. Laser therapy is a treatment option that we typically utilize within the first few days of a whiplash injury. Laser therapy requires no movement or manipulation of the injured tissues and therefore poses minimal chance of increasing symptoms or pain during the acute phase. Laser therapy is also a very effective addition to rest, ice and other anti-inflammatory measures commonly prescribed during the first few days after an injury. We have also had excellent results with Laser therapy in chronic cases of WAD in which patients haven’t responded to other forms of treatment.

 

Rehabilitation: 

All of our WAD patients will receive a comprehensive rehabilitation plan in order to promote and maintain mobility and improve strength. The correct rehabilitation/exercises will maintain the effects of treatment and decrease the chance of chronic pain. Education is also an important part of rehabilitation because understanding your injury and the time frame for normal tissue healing will help prevent fears surrounding pain and the injury.

 

ICBC Claims for Whiplash Associated Disorder:

Dr. Amy Wiggins and Dr. Matthew Wentzell currently accept ICBC claims. If you have been in an accident please bring your claim number and adjustors name to your first visit. You do not require a note from your doctor, following an accident in order to receive chiropractic care, as we are primary health care providers. We work directly with ICBC to provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan following your motor vehicle accident.