People frequently ask if chiropractic care can help after a whiplash injury from something like a car accident or slip and fall. The short answer is yes but probably not for the reason you think.
Many people think that chiropractic care can help you feel better after whiplash and for most folks that is true. Chiropractic care may help to reduce pain. That’s all well and good. But going to a chiropractor to get out of pain is like going to high class coffee shop to get plain, black coffee. They have so much more to offer.
After a whiplash accident, ligaments and other soft tissue around the joints of your spine become stretched, compressed, torn or crushed. Because your body is so smart it knows how to heal and gets right to work by starting an immediate inflammatory response. Inflammation can cause pain but in this case, inflammation is not a bad thing.
As the joints swell, scar tissue factors are attracted to the area to help it sew things back up. Scar tissue forms in the damaged muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue. This scar tissue deposits as rapidly and randomly around the joint as possible to help you not re-injure it. This physiologically normal process lasts for about 2 months. However, random deposition of scar tissue will lead to the joints not moving freely. This scar tissue further restricts the motion of the joint and leads to arthritis.
The first 2 months following a whiplash accident is when chiropractic can really help you. The purpose of chiropractic is to restore proper motion and then maintain it. If proper joint motion is restored in the first 2 months after a whiplash or any other trauma to the joints, then scar tissue will continue to be laid down to further strengthen the area for about 2 years. This post-2 month scar tissue will not be laid down randomly anymore if proper joint motion has been restored. This means that the healthy scar tissue being laid down for 2 years after your accident is not contributing as much to future arthritis.
If proper joint motion is not restored in the first 2 months after the whiplash accident, then scar tissue will continue to be deposited in a more random fashion for the additional 2 years. This leads to arthritis.
This is why it is so important to get chiropractic care as soon as possible following a whiplash accident. Chiropractic care may help you feel better but the most important reason is it will help your joints move better and this will reduce your risk of future arthritis.
So yes, chiropractic care can help after a whiplash accident. Read more about chiropractic research here.