If your head snapped back and forth during a car accident, you might have whiplash. You’ll likely notice symptoms such as a tightening of your shoulders and neck, muscle spasms, pain, and headaches. Your range of motion could be decreased as well. You want to get back to normal as soon as possible, so you’re ready to go to the doctor. Which doctor should you visit, though? Three different medical specialists might be part of your treatment plan.
You can begin treatment by visiting an orthopedic doctor after a car accident. During the exam, you will go over your symptoms, and then the doctor will evaluate your neck and shoulders for signs of whiplash.
The orthopedist will check your range of motion, degree of pain, and more. Then, the doctor might order diagnostic tests to make sure that another problem isn’t causing your symptoms. These tests can include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
After reviewing the tests, the doctor will create a treatment plan. Your plan might include medication and bracing. You also might need to see a physical therapist or chiropractor for additional treatment.
If your symptoms are getting in the way of your daily activities, you can begin physical therapy. Your therapist will use active and passive treatments to manage your symptoms and help you recover. If you’re in a lot of pain, your physical therapist might only use passive treatments such as deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapies, and ultrasound at first. Then, when your pain is under control, you can move onto active treatments to help you improve your range of motion and increase your strength.
Your physical therapist will also likely send you home with exercises for you to do between appointments.
You also might need to visit a chiropractor as part of your whiplash treatment plan. A chiropractor offers some of the same passive techniques, such as an ultrasound, to reduce inflammation.
However, your chiropractor also uses additional treatment strategies, including spinal manipulation, instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, and trigger point therapy. This, combined with physical therapy, can help you move past the pain and restore your range of motion. Also, because chiropractors treat the entire body instead of just the injury, you should feel better overall when you finish treatment.
Whiplash can be a very painful condition, and sometimes, the pain gets worse without treatment. If you are tired of dealing with the pain and other symptoms, seek treatment for whiplash. Begin by going to an orthopedic doctor.
Your doctor will create a customized plan that might include medication, a cervical collar, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatments.
With the right treatment plan, your symptoms should begin to dissipate quickly. Then, after a few weeks or months, you’ll likely be completely free of symptoms and able to resume normal activities without any issues. Then, you can finally move past your accident and your injuries.
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