Chronic Neck Pain / Whiplash Auto Injury
I see patients with long standing chronic neck pain every day in my office. They often have persistent headaches, neck stiffness and sleep difficulty due to neck pain. Many times when going through their history we discover they were involved in an auto accident some time in the past and did not receive proper treatment for the injury.
Auto accident whiplash type injuries are the #1 cause of chronic neck pain and degenerative arthritis in the neck or cervical spine. With proper care often this can be avoided.
Injury / Healing process:
Stage I: acute inflammatory stage lasts up to 72 hours. Rest and frequent ice packs are recommended.
Stage II: repair stage from 72 hours to 14 weeks. Normal range of motion should be restored as soon as possible (unless there are signs of ligament instability). The body starts laying down collagen to repair the damaged muscles - ligaments - spinal discs for about 6 to 8 weeks following injury. This is where Chiropractic care is ultimately crucial to restore normal motion and alignment to the spine and prevent an abundance of fibrous scar tissue that leads to long term problems. Active home exercises also need to be incorporated to restore motion.
Stage III: remodeling stage from 14 weeks to 12 months. The body continues to align the collagen fibers along the lines of motion or develops scar tissue from lack of motion in the injured areas.
So to recap... LIFE IS MOTION. When you suffer a whiplash auto injury --> see your Chiropractor to restore proper motion and alignment as soon as possible to prevent future problems and permanent scar tissue. If you wait, the time clock is ticking for the healing process as the body tries to heal no matter what you do. Whether the injury heals right or wrong can can depend on what type of treatment you chose. Taking pain medication / muscle relaxers and avoiding motion will certainly produce a hefty amount of scar tissue and lead to future problems.
Dr. David Dirks / Dirks Chiropractic
Greenville NC: (252) 751-0660
Washington NC: (252) 362-0189