Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs due to a sudden forceful change in motion causing unrestrained whip-like movement of the head and neck. It causes inflammation and damage to the soft tissue of the neck and upper back but can affect the middle and lower back. It leads to a constant sharp, stabbing pain that is fixed in nature. The pain is further aggravated by any regular activity and movement of the neck.
The most common symptoms from car accident include: neck pain, headache, TMJ, shoulder pain, anxiety, back pain, depression, visual disturbance and dizziness. Depending on the severity, medical investigation can reveal cervical strain, muscle tears, ruptured ligaments, cervical spine herniation or fractures.
If left untreated, the condition can lead to chronic cervical or occipital neck pain and lower back pain. Sufferers of whiplash can also be complicated by poor concentration, weakness and tiredness, dizziness, and tinnitus.
Whiplash According to Chinese Medicine and Pattern Differentiation
According to Chinese Medicine, traumatic injury such a whiplash, cause(s) Qi and/or Blood stagnation in the channels and collaterals in the neck, and upper back. It is treated by moving Qi and Blood and promoting circulation in the neck. Furthermore, TCM can differentiate whiplash injury into three types of tendon injuries: namely: tendon deviation, tendon dislocation, and knotted tendon. At the early stage, treatment can rapidly resolve this problem. The symptoms of these conditions are treated with specific acupuncture points if necessary.
Untreated neck trauma can lead to chronic Qi and Blood stasis, with further complications, such as turbid phlegm obstruction of the meridians. Symptoms include numbness, reduced sensitivity, and dull pain. Long term, unresolved neck problems with further involve Kidney and Liver deficiencies. For those suffering from chronic pain, treatment is often required at a more long-term basis.
Treatment of Whiplash
Western medical treatment often involves anti-inflammatory prescription medication, such as ibuprofen, as well as physiotherapy. Traditional Chinese medicine treatment employs a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
How Acupuncture Can Help
- Completely resolve the pain or significantly reduce the pain
- Accelerate the healing process of all related symptoms
- Increase the neck movement and range of motion
- Help reduce accident-related anxiety or mental stress
- Reduce the need for medication
- Improve the quality of life affected by the accident