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PAIN CENTERS OF AMERICA PATIENT DISCHARGE INFORMATION: WHIPLASH NAME: ______________________________ DATE: ______________________________ NURSE: _____________________________ What is whiplash? Whiplash is the result of a movement described as “a speed up and/or a slow down occurring at a rate too rapid for a person to adapt”. If the whip-like motion occurs beyond the normal range of motion of a joint, injury can be the result. This motion can occur even when the intensity of the jarring is relatively low. The damage to the body from whiplash can be to bone as well as to soft-tissue. The most common injury caused by whiplash is damage to the supporting soft tissues of the head, neck, shoulders, back and jaw. These tissues include: those that provide movement, like the muscles and tendons; those that prevent excessive movement, like ligaments; those tissues that act as cushions and allow smooth motion in a joint, like cartilage; those that supply the nutrients, or the blood vessels; and those that communicate message transmitters to and from the brain, or the nerves. Characteristically, the pain and stiffness resulting from whiplash may not show up for weeks. A wide variety of symptoms are possible. The recovery from whiplash is extremely variable, and the course is difficult to predict what tomorrow will bring, let alone what next month will bring. Fortyfive percent of whiplash victims have significant symptoms several years after their injury. What types of treatment options are available for whiplash? Rehabilitation is vital to a successful recovery process. A successful rehabilitation (rehab) programs returns the injured person to near-normal functioning as soon as possible. If the rehab is performed regularly, it also minimizes future degenerative changes. This rehab falls into three basic categories: range-of-motion, progressive strengthening and posture correction rehab. If not persistently used, the potential for successful rehabilitation, will be significantly diminished. Rehab never truly ends. The goal for range-of-motion rehab is to obtain normal, pain free motion for each injured joint. Usually, muscle injuries resulting from whiplash cause a tight feeling and cause certain motions to be painful, and sometimes cause significant limitations. Chiropractic doctors are trained spinal specialists with the knowledge that proper motion is absolutely essential to the health of the spine. Therefore, along with spinal manipulation, special motion exercises and stretches are used to save the areas affected by the whiplash, by restoring proper motion. Progressive strengthening rehab has established the goal to build up the supporting tissues, which may have been overstretched and/or torn by the whiplash. These “supporting tissues” refers to the muscles and ligaments. The method used to strengthen these supporting tissues must be conducted in a slow and highly specialized manner in order to build the proper muscles in the proper way. Without this specialized rehab, re-injury is likely and joints may even become weak, loose, and break down over time.
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