How can Chiropractic help with Whiplash?

We’ve all  likely heard of whiplash before.  However, if you’ve never actually experienced this type of an injury, you can never truly appreciate the pain and length of rehabilitation that can often be related to it. It is a nasty injury that usually takes a long time to get over.  So what is whiplash? What are the best exercises after you have suffered a whiplash injury and what can your Chiropractic physician do to help speed the recovery process? 

Most commonly, whiplash is an injury that takes place in a car accident, however I have seen this type of an injury take place in other situations such as being hit from behind on the ski slopes or taking a hard fall to the ground. The impact results in a rapid and extreme forward-then-backward movement of the head. If the individual is unaware of the impending impact, the blow puts an extreme force of impact into the joints of the head and neck which results in extreme joint pain, inflammation, and sometimes in extreme cases, fractures.   If the person sees the impact coming they will typically “brace” for the collision, causing muscle strain and/or muscle tearing.  Though possibly less-serious because of the lack of bony involvement, the muscle pain is nonetheless very painful.

One interesting characteristic of whiplash pain is its manifestation. It is common for patients to walk away from their car accident not feeling a whole lot of pain.  While your adrenaline is flowing the trauma to the neck joints and muscles often doesn’t manifest itself until a few days later. It is very common for my patients to be in A LOT of pain 1-3 days or weeks to a month or 2 after the incident, and that pain can last for months to years.

Whiplash is a very common ailment we treat here at the Vector Spine and Sport.  After the necessary steps have been taken, and the neck has been cleared by x-ray it is important to get started in Chiropractic care and when tolerated Physical Therapy right away.  Early movement to the spine, with supervision and guidance by your Health care team will ensure the quickest path to recovery.  Your treatment at Vector Spine and Sport for whiplash pain will generally consist of three major areas of focus:

●    Warm Up – A very important step to prepare the head and neck for increased movement using manual therapy. 
●    Manual Therapy – Utilize a combination of soft tissue massage and gentle joint mobilization to help improve neck motion.  After a whiplash injury, lack of neck movement is the main issue, and this needs to be addressed first.  This is probably the most important part of your treatment initially for whiplash.  Whiplash pain, though initially focused in the neck area, often extends into the upper back muscles and sometimes even into the lower back.  Each of those painful areas needs addressed with a hands-on approach by your Health care professional.
●    Specific Exercise – One of the most important parts of treating whiplash injury is a customized, focused home exercise program. Your muscles and joints are designed to move; after a whiplash injury it’s important to remind them of that fact. Initially the focus should be on stretching and motion and then with time progressing towards postural strengthening as pain decreases.

So what are some of the best exercises for whiplash? Click on the image below to see some of our most-recommended exercises for whiplash injury. Please note that these are shared for educational purposes only (see disclaimer below); in order to achieve maximum benefit you should consult your healthcare professional for a unique, custom plan of care specific to your individual needs.

Click on the image below to open the PDF in a new window

Whiplash can be a very frustrating ailment to deal with.  It requires patience, diligence, and consistency to see significant results. Rehabilitation following these accidents comes with ups and downs, good days and bad, but there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage and PT can help you get there in the quickest, safest way possible.  So give the Vector Spine and Sport a call or schedule today, and let us help you get on the road to recovery.

Do you have elbow pain?

Elbow pain can have many causes.

Golfers elbow, tennis elbow are the common names for lateral and medial epicondylitis. Which is caused by irritation of the common flexor or extensor tendons of the forearm. This irritation is usually caused by the eccentric contraction which is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under load.

What can you do for epicondylitis?

You can use braces. This is a temporary solution to your elbow pain. It does feel good to have this brace compressing your elbow. If you get some relief from using one of these braces, it is a great tool to use so that you are not aggravating the elbow. But it will not fix the problem.

Using Ice and heat can also be useful for reducing pain and inflammation in the elbow. The research suggests that the most benefit from both ice and heat is about 20 minutes. I suggest alternating between ice and heat. Using an ice cube or freezing water in a small paper cup and using that to massage the elbow using it until it it nice and numb, then using a hot pack or heating pad to heat the elbow up. What does this do to the elbow? The ice constricts the blood vessels and causes some tightening of muscles, pushing inflammation out into the bloodstream and then the heat dilates the blood vessels and moves the inflammation away from the elbow.

Muscle work is also useful when addressing elbow pain. Because muscles are the ones doing the work, they can also be the ones causing the problem. Working on them only makes sense. Using self massage, instrument assisted massage, and massage therapy to reduce pain and prepare the soft tissues to be able to work and strengthen the areas that need to be stronger.

Using a FlexBar to strengthen the muscles in the forearm is going to help fix the problem so that this does not become a chronic issue. The exercise is fairly simple: 1. Hold Flexbar in the involved (hurt) hand maximum wrist extension. 2. Grab the other end of the FlexBar with the Uninvolved hand (uninjured) hand. 3. Twist Bar with non-involved wrist while holding the involved wrist in extension. 4. Bring arms in front of the body with elbows in extension while maintaining the twist. 5. Slowly allow Flex bar to untwist by allowing involved wrist to move into flexion.

What else is there that can help?

Deep tissue laser therapy can help reduce the inflammation in the elbow and reduce the pain. This is safer than taking NSAIDs and it is able to focus the anti inflammation benefits to the elbow more that taking the NSAIDs which once in the system are all over the body. Deep tissue laser works by stimulating the mitochondria of the cell to increase ATP production and bringing heat deep into the body more that the use of a hot pack or heating pad.

If you have any questions about lateral or medial epicondylitis please contact us at Vector Spine and Sport. We are located in the Old Farm Professional Plaza in Millcreek Utah.

5 Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care has been around since 1895, but in reality it dates back much further than that. The earliest records of manipulative therapy/chiropractic care date back to 400-385 BCE in Europe. In the time between then and now manipulative therapy and chiropractic have fallen in and out of favor with the medical community. As of today, chiropractic care is becoming looked at as a more favorable alternative to “modern medicine” practices such as: opioids, spinal surgeries in some cases, auto accidents, etc. (1)

So now lets get down to business!

1.Improved Sports Performance Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) have been working with various professional teams to help with performance. All 32 NFL teams, all 30 NBA teams, and the Olympic training centers have DC on staff. The conditions that they help manage for athletes are relieving pressure in the joints, soft tissue (muscles), and spinal and extremity adjustments, muscle strains, tendon and ligament sprains.
Some of the benefits mentioned above bring are increased mobility, better hand-eye coordination, improved balance, faster reaction time to name a few.

2. Improved Recovery Time  After being in an auto-accident research has shown that the sooner you see a chiropractic physician, massage therapist or physical therapist (usually a combination of all 3) the better your long term outcome. As well as with most muscular or skeletal complaint whether it be low back pain, neck pain, arm or leg pain. Chiropractor may be able to help get you feeling better faster.(2)

3. Headache Relief  Headaches are an area that has had lots of research in favor of Chiropractic care to help in the management of headaches. There is evidence that with chiropractic intervention can reduce frequency, duration, and severity of headaches. (3)

4. Reduces Chronic Pain In the United states and Canada low back pain is the most common occupational injury and affects more than 10% of the population at one time or another. It is ranked number 6 in reasons for seeking medical help when it comes to medical cost. Through a combination of Chiropractic care, rehabilitation exercises and education we care able to have improved outcomes at less cost than using usual modern medical care.(4)

5. Reduce Inflammation Chiropractic adjustments have been shown in studies to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. Combining these two benefits alone can decrease your pain and allow for more pain free movement and improved overall health. (5)

Chiropractic care has helped me when I was dancing on a competitive and performing ballroom dance team through my high school and college years, and also inspired me to become a sports chiropractor. I would get sprains strains and “tweak” my back all the time while dancing and the Chiropractor helped me get back on the floor and perform the best that I could.

1. Pettman E. (2007). A history of manipulative therapy. The Journal of manual & manipulative therapy15(3), 165-74.

2. Goertz, C. M., Long, C. R., Vining, R. D., Pohlman, K. A., Walter, J., & Coulter, I. (2018). Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain: A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial. JAMA network open1(1), e180105. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0105

3. Chaibi, A., Benth, J. Š., Tuchin, P. J., & Russell, M. B. (2016). Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. European journal of neurology24(1), 143-153.

4. Blanchette, M. A., Bussières, A., Stochkendahl, M. J., Boruff, J., & Harrison, P. (2015). Effectiveness and economic evaluation of chiropractic care for the treatment of low back pain: a systematic review protocol. Systematic reviews4, 30. doi:10.1186/s13643-015-0015-5

5. Roy, R. A., Boucher, J. P., & Comtois, A. S. (2010). Inflammatory response following a short-term course of chiropractic treatment in subjects with and without chronic low back pain. Journal of chiropractic medicine9(3), 107-14.

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