Whiplash trauma (also referred to as ‘Cervical Acceleration Deceleration’ trauma or CAD) doesn’t always happen from auto accidents. It could just as easily happen when two athletes collide on the playing field, or a person gets an unexpected jolt from a friend giving a chest bump at school. However, it is best described as being hit by an automobile from the rear. CAD is well documented to indicate pain and possibly permanent reduction of movement and pain to the injured person.
CAD is basically a ‘sprain and strain’ to the muscles and ligaments in the neck; but there are more elements involved (particularly the nervous system and spinal cord, and the position of the vertebrae – bones). The sudden jolt of force causes a significant disruption to the neck which can not only cause pain, but may also have an effect on your immune system, hormones, headaches, sleep pattern, allergies, thyroid production, and more! It will take time for the injury to repair and without effective treatment, the scar tissue which forms during the repair will be as damaging and painful to the injured person over the remaining years of their life as the initial trauma!
CAD injury should be carefully evaluated by an experienced chiropractor who can determine what appropriate care is warranted, including possible referral for MRI, ortho or emergency consult. Evaluation clearly calls for a specialist of the spine and the movement (biomechanics) of the spine; a chiropractor is certainly high on this list!
Chiropractic care is frequently referred to by ‘technique’; and some chiropractors are limited to one or two techniques. Make sure you visit a chiropractor who is skilled and confident in their role as a member of your healthcare team. Treatment plans should include a logical progression from a conservative ‘technique’ to other appropriate methods and techniques. Treatment plans should also include other adjunct therapies, such as: massage, cold laser therapy, kinesio tape, soft tissue activities to reduce scar tissue and to restore your performance of normal activities of daily life.