Whiplash Injury Recovery (Part 3): A Holistic Approach to Examining Whiplash Injuries

Last week we discussed risk factors that can affect or delay a person’s recovery from a whiplash injury.  The research reviewed considered factors like the severity of the injury, previous neck disability, age factors and much more.  We suggest reviewing last week’s entry if you’re interested in finding out more.

Although studies can guide us to become aware of factors related to whiplash recovery, at Color Chiropractic we consider the health of the whole person.  A whiplash injury can be one of the most complicated injuries to manage and there are key areas that can be overlooked by medical doctors and even other Chiropractors.  When it comes to maximizing whiplash recovery, let’s explore some areas that are worth considering.

Look to the Spine

Although it sounds obvious to examine the neck in a whiplash injury, medical doctors will look at the neck differently from a Chiropractor.  Medical doctors may take an x-ray or an MRI to look for signs of fracture or muscle injury. They may prescribe muscle relaxers and pain killers to help relieve symptoms.  A Chiropractor may also recommend ordering these studies to rule out anything serious, but will also look at things like the curvature of the neck to determine how fast their patients will heal.  

Sometimes the natural curvature of your neck can make a huge difference in whiplash recovery.  The natural curve of the neck has a slight bend to it (i.e. it looks like a reversed letter “C”).  If you’ve been in a whiplash accident and your spine lacks a normal curve, it doesn’t mean that your neck will not get better, but it does indicate that recovery may take longer and restoring the curve will be a key component to your care plan.

It is also important that the neck has a balanced relationship with the rest of your spine.  Your spine has three curves that have an effect on one another. If we only focus on treating the neck because it is the neck that is hurting, the likelihood of full recovery will be limited.

Look to the eyes

The body relies on the eyes to integrate movements of the head on the neck.  If the eyes aren’t tracking properly or show signs of imbalance then the neck will have a hard time adapting to varying postures and activities throughout the day.  Eye tracking can also affect a person’s ability to read and concentrate which can lead to headaches. Because we are Chiropractors with a holistic approach, we will look at dynamics like cranial motion as a means to correct these imbalances.

Look at Emotional Patterns

The body often has a hard time recovering from a whiplash injury because the body and mind are in a state of shock.  Attempts to help the body recover are mitigated because the body is holding onto these patterns like a bad default program on a computer.  Although Chiropractic adjustments can help, we find that integrating the emotional patterns with our Chiropractic care has been vital to helping their bodies form new and more serving patterns.  Check out this medical interview that discusses the Neuro-emotional Technique  that we use at our office.  Although the interview focuses on the recovery of cancer survivors, watching the interview will help you realize the impact of how emotional patterns can contribute to a person’s health.

Look to the Nervous System

One of the reasons Chiropractors work with the back and neck is because of the spine’s relationship with the nervous system.  When the spine becomes misaligned (in this case due to whiplash trauma), this causes a distortion in the communication of the brains communication with the body and the bodies communication back to the brain.  People may be unaware of the global changes that occur when this interference in communication is allowed to persist. A person’s neck pain, lower back pain, headaches, and mental clarity can be caused by this lack of communication.

Oftentimes, it’s not until a person goes to a Chiropractors office that they begin to explore patterns of nerve stress on the body.  Factors like: A person’s range of motion, the activation of muscles, and even a short leg can be indicators that a person’s alignment is affecting their nervous system.  In our office, we use a great tool called the Insight Millennium that gives our patients a good visual representation of what their nervous system is doing and how it’s responding to trauma.  Check out our video link to understand how this technology can help you explore how your nervous system is affecting your ability to recover from whiplash.

When it comes to whiplash injuries, there are a host of factors to take into account.  We hope this starts to give you an understanding of a Chiropractic approach and how a holistic approach can be integrated to help speed up the recovery process.  As always, you can schedule a free consultation if you would like to know more about our perspectives and approaches to Whiplash and other health issues. If you found this information useful, share it with your friends.  You can also join us on the next blog as we help you identify the bodies priorities to heal from Whiplash injury.

In service,

Drs. Richard Tran and Michelle Hsu

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