You can have neck pain from repetitive strain injuries from sitting at your desk in a bad posture, looking at your phone without breaks, or too much time on the couch. These are repetitive strain injuries; they happen over time.
However, many of our patients come to this office because of whiplash injuries. Sudden trauma. In traffic, getting hit from behind can damage certain parts of the joints in your neck and stretch and tear certain ligaments.
In both cases, chiropractic care is a multimodal profession with the tools you need to relieve and manage the pain from neck trauma.
When you have neck pain from an injury:
Chiropractors are researchers, authors, lecturers, and expert witnesses for injuries sustained from whiplash or other car accidents. Chiropractors are leaders in conservative management of whiplash injuries. When you see a chiropractor, you enjoy immediate, palpable relief from your pain.
The length of a treatment plan very much depends on how severe your injuries are, your pre-existing condition, comorbidities, and other factors. If you have a significant injury, you will have ligament injuries, and ligament injuries can take more than a year to heal. Other mild injuries will realistically only need a few weeks of care.
When you see a chiropractor for whiplash injuries, you will receive an examination and a care plan with prognosis.
Treatment is done in stages. Acute, subacute, remodeling, return to full activity. Each stage needs different kinds of care. Passive care turns into active care.
Generally, getting things to move as they should helps the healing process the best it can. Healing always should be supported by optimal nutrition. Make sure your nutrition is supported with nutrients that will help build collagen fibers without scar tissue. And as your body intrinsically rebuilds collagen fibers, they respond well to natural, full range of motion.
You are responsible to keep moving and exercising through your life. After an injury, sometimes you need help with chiropractic care to make sure every segment of your spine moves well with you.
A chiropractor will help you restore normal mobility in your neck. After an injury, your neck often moves better in one direction compared to the other, and this can feel like a misalignment. In reality, when you restore movement it feels like you are popping bones back into place, and re-aligning them.
If the injury is severe, you might want to wait. Too much inflammation in the area may provide too toxic of an inflammatory load for a massage, as well as being too tender to bear.
In most cases, massages will help effleurage fluids built up in the muscles, helping to move inflammatory exudates along so nutrients can replace them. So, yes, massage can be helpful after a whiplash injury.
We learned long ago that when you injure the muscles in your neck, you'll have worse outcomes if you wear a cervical collar that keeps your neck still.
Avoiding safe movements is not treating your injury, and it can lead to long term degeneration and impairments in years to come. When the soft tissues in your neck are bruised, and when the ligaments in your neck are strained, you're going to get inflammation, which can also lead to scar tissue formation. You'll lose the range of motion in your neck, and you'll get stiff. This will make you lose neurological feedback between the joints in your neck and the muscles in your neck, leading to chronic tightness.
If you immobilize the joints in your spine, you'll also accelerate the degeneration in your neck, leading to irreversible stiffness in your neck.