One of the things you may hear when seeking out chiropractic care is that the treatments can go on for a long time. While this is true in some cases, the length of treatment depends on your protocol and the reason you are seeking care. Chiropractic treatments may also last longer because their goal is to repair the root cause of any injuries, rather than simply eliminating symptoms. This is all true when you are seeking relief from whiplash-related pain after a car accident. When you are searching for chiropractors in Atlanta to manage your whiplash pain, you may not get an exact answer on the length of treatment before your program begins, but you should always take your doctor’s advice on how many sessions are necessary.
One of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, whiplash usually appears within a couple of days of the incident, whether it was a crash or a sports injury. The sudden movements involved in these cases can cause the ligaments and muscles in your neck to stretch farther than they are meant to, leading to tears and sprains known as whiplash.
Most people will notice neck pain and stiffness as the major signs of whiplash, though pain can spread through the arms, upper back, and shoulders as well. Headaches, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, and fatigue can also be signs of severe whiplash and should be reported to a doctor.
At your first appointment with a chiropractor in Atlanta, they will talk with you about your symptoms and ask you to perform some simple movements to assess your condition. They may do a physical examination to look for signs like tension, limited range of motion, poor mobility, or spasms. This usually provides enough information to develop a plan, but in some cases, your chiropractor might tell you what diagnostic scans you should get after an accident. You may be sent to imaging like an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray to add more context to your chiropractor’s understanding of your condition.
Common Whiplash Treatments
The central practice in chiropractic care is spinal manipulation, often called adjustments, in which pressure or force are placed on the spine in the areas that need alignment. When treating whiplash, many chiropractors in Atlanta employ flexion-distraction, which is a gentle technique that uses slower, softer motions to push discs into place. In addition, you may also see instruments used as a part of an adjustment to help align the affected area without direct force. When more pressure is acceptable, your doctor may move to the most common form of adjustments, specific spinal manipulation. This involves thrusting towards a misalignment to realign the spine and activate the nervous system.
While spinal adjustments have a positive impact on whiplash, it may also be necessary for the soft tissue to be treated specifically. When this is the case, chiropractors perform manual therapy, allowing the muscles and ligaments to heal over time. Manual therapy may include instrument assistance, trigger point therapy, massage, and other resistance or stretching techniques as a part of repairing the soft tissue. This can also be paired with physical therapy exercises you perform both in the office and at home to regain strength and mobility.
Therapies may also be added to treatment protocol that are designed to reduce inflammation when it is stalling the healing process. This may include ultrasound therapy or electrical stimulation.
Length of Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to the question of how long treatment will last. Each case of whiplash is different, and factors like severity, other injuries, and how you respond to treatment can change the duration. Throughout treatment, your chiropractor in Atlanta will assess your pain levels and range of motion to adjust as needed.
Average recovery from whiplash can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, with periodic visits to a chiropractor throughout that time. It’s extremely important to finish out the treatment plan your doctor develops, as stopping early can allow your injury to return or even become worse once treatment ends. Your plan will be designed to reach specific goals that should be achieved before you stop visits to a chiropractor in Atlanta.
It is also important to remember that whiplash often occurs in addition to other injuries, misalignments, or conditions, and they may need to be treated holistically to be properly addressed. Even if you feel your whiplash symptoms have subsided, continued care may be needed for related issues.
If you are suffering from whiplash, AICA Orthopedics offers the expertise of car accident chiropractors in Atlanta. We will work with you to create comprehensive, personalized treatment plans that address your pain safely and efficiently. Call us to begin working with our chiropractors today!