How To Relieve Pain From WhiplashWhiplash is the common term for the soft tissue injury to the neck sustained in motor vehicle accidents. The severity of injuries varies from a low grade single muscle strain or tear to involving multiple tissues of varying severity. It's being increasingly acknowledged that there is also trauma to brain tissue also in many cases! In this post, we look at what infrared laser therapy can do to reduce pain associated with it.
First, let's take a look at what's happening in the body with whiplash...
In The Neck
In a case of whiplash, the large and small muscles and ligaments in the neck have sustained sprain and strain injuries. As with any sprain/strain, there will be pain, swelling, bruising, and a reduce ability to move the joint. In the neck, this has more implications than just neck function due to its proximity to the brain and central nervous system. Resulting nerve impingements and underlying/pre-existing diseases often complicate matters. (We're talking about muscle tension in neck due to stress, degenerative disc disease, thyroid dysfunction, etc.)
Whiplash injuries are very responsive to the Bioflex low intensity laser therapy our physio's use as treatment here at our clinic. Improving function and reducing pain in less time than traditional physiotherapy alone.
In The Brain
Whether or not you sustained direct head trauma, concussion injuries are also being found as part of the presentation of whiplash. (Just think about how the brain gets thrown forward inside the skull with a sudden force! Ouch!)
Originally, low intensity laser therapy was not thought to be an effective modality for the concussion injuries which sometimes accompany the neck trauma. As the thinking goes, the blood brain barrier would protect the brain, and consequently is non-responsive to the beneficial effects of laser applied to different regions of the body.
However, recent studies confirm that the specialized tissues of the blood brain barrier do respond to laser therapy applied to the neck, speeding recovery from concussion! This is a really nice treatment option because it is non-invasive and non-toxic. It is all the more important because there are so few good treatment options available for concussion recovery beyond simple resting and waiting.
When there is more going on than just simple whiplash
Once we get beyond the initial acute stages of treatment with physio and laser therapy... it's important to consider what else may be going on. This is where we get back to some of the underlying or pre-existing conditions that make whiplash worse and harder to repair. Just as the tissue damage involved in a whiplash injury varies from one person to another, so does the treatment required. Using a collaborative model of care provides for a multi-dimensional treatment approach, helping you heal from more than one thing at a time. This is essential in treating chronic pain.
Beyond physio, laser, and massage therapy, our collaborative team includes a Naturopathic Doctor (Dr. Laura Nurse) to help you with the underlying dietary and lifestyle habits which contribute to your pain, and a Life Coach (Amanda Maynard) to identify and lessen the impact of prolonged physical pain on mental health. We are pleased to offer the convenience of a one-spot, multi-disciplinary treatment experience, tailored to your needs.