Evaluation and Treatment of Whiplash

Anyone who has ever been in an auto accident or MVA, knows that pain and inflammation can start anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after being involved in a car accident. Most people do not feel pain initially after the MVA due to a spike of pain-blocking adrenaline hormones. Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes a quick forward and backward movement of the head and neck.

A whiplash injury can cause damage to the ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and discs. If left untreated, scar tissue can form around the damage structures and leave permanent damage. If treated, the damage sustained can be greatly reduced and many people will report a return to normal activities of daily living within three to six months.

Here at Intrinsic Wellness we approach a whiplash injury from three of healthcare specialities. Our office utilizes physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture to help address the symptoms and help the body repair the structures damaged from the MVA.  We believe the healing process can be broken down into three phases of care.

The first phase of care is relief care. Relief care deals primarily with the symptoms a patient is experiencing. When involved in a car accident, the bones, joints, discs, and nerves can all be damaged. Relief care is what most of our patients present to the office for help with. Most patients will have some sort of pain. Quite often the pain will travel or radiate into the shoulders, arms, forearms or even hands. During the first phase of care, a patient will typically start with chiropractic and/or acupuncture. During this time a patient may need consultations with other healthcare professionals to help evaluation and treatment pain and possible neurological or orthopedic conditions not treatable or alleviated by chiropractic, acupuncture and/or physical therapy.

Chiropractic care analyzes the joints of the spine to make sure they are moving properly. Many times after a MVA, the joints of the spine will lock up to prevent further damage. If these joints are left untreated, they will degenerate over time. Chiropractors use a wide-variety of physical medicine modalities to help reduce pain and inflammation, promote motion of the spine and help the body naturally heal.

Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to be extremely effective for pain mitigation. Acupuncture analysis consists of checking certain areas of the body that correlate with other regions of the body including organs. By stimulating these points with small needles, the body is better able to self-regulate and heal quicker naturally. Our acupuncture team utilizes a wide-variety of physical medicine modalities including electro-stimulation of the acupuncture needles. Studies have shown that electro-stim acupuncture is even more effective at treating pain and dysfunction. Acupuncture is a great alternative to pain medication and if you’re scared of needles, our acupuncturists perform needless acupuncture! The next phase of healing is the rehabilitative phase. Patients will typically be treated by both the chiropractor and physical therapist.

The second phase of care is characterized mainly by rehabilitation. Our goal is to strengthen and stretch the area(s) of complaint to make sure that we can get you to pre-injury status. Due to lack of use, scar tissue formation, and other factors, physical therapy is warranted to help repair the damage that has been sustained from your car accident. Chiropractic is also warranted to assure that the joints are still functioning properly to help reduce pain and ward off degeneration. As a patient’s care plan progresses, patients should  be participating more in their treatment by performing exercises under the observation of a licensed physical therapist.

The third phase of care occurs after a patient has been formally discharged for their complaint. In many motor vehicle accidents, the injuries sustained are permanent and may require continued treatment by a healthcare provider to help with exacerbation and flare ups. We have found that patients benefit the most from routine chiropractic adjustments as well as continuing their prescribe in-home exercises provided by our licensed physical therapists.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in the Hackensack or Westwood area. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our staff. Here at Intrinsic Wellness we are committed to providing you safe, effective, physical therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture. We look forward to serving you and your family with all of your healthcare needs.