A large percentage of my patients present to my office with an injury or with pain that has been ongoing. Their symptoms have not been fully treated by orthopedic doctors, physical therapy, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, and/or chiropractors. These patients are looking for solutions to have their pain fully treated and not bandaided by pain meds, steroids, or anti-inflammatory medicines. Many have made effort to improve their diets, pursue a regular exercise program, and meditate.
Many of the patients have chiropractors who have helped them.
Without alienating any single group, it’s important to understand that there are a lot of different chiropractors who practice medicine very differently. There are chiropractors who practice functional medicine. There are chiropractors who practice functional neurology. There are chiropractors who focus on exercise. There are specialists within those who do primarily manipulation, including those who are NUCCA or upper cervical trained and those who understand the importance of treating soft tissue.
In whiplash injuries from car accidents, the ligament and joint capsules are injured, as well as the muscles, fascia, and nerves. Whiplash injuries are treatable and best treated in the first six weeks, not by any one individual but by a team. The team should include a physical therapist, massage, and a regenerative medicine physician in addition to the chiropractor.
The misalignment issues that result after a whiplash injury are usually related to muscle spasm. If the muscle spasm resolves and the muscle/nervous system is retrained, then the alignment will improve. However, the ligament and joint capsules have been stretched and will remain in a lengthened position, especially if the joint is manipulated with force repetitively. Manipulation should not cause pain and need not cause an audible crack. In fact, with soft tissue manipulation and very little force, it is possible to correct a patient’s alignment. This takes time.
It is the injury to the joint capsule (the casing around a joint) and the ligaments, that hold bone to bone, that over time will lead to arthritis. The injury causes abnormal movement and may allow the bones to come into contact with each other. When this occurs, it causes wear and tear, eventually leading to x-ray changes. These x-ray changes include joint space narrowing and spurs. These changes, arthritis, can be halted and in some cases, prevented. This is the reason to have a regenerative medicine physician on board. If the ligaments and joint capsule are treated early, this can change the trajectory of the disease course. A person could heal completely by 3 months.
If you are still suffering from injuries after a car accident, there are a number of treatments available that are discussed on this website. Although not guaranteed, prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma are covered by many car accident insurances. So, don’t wait until your PIP coverage is used up before you pursue treatment that encourages healing and repair of the injured tissue.