Whiplash injuries, minor and major, are an everyday occurrence. Only, we are not aware of it, most of the time.
Major types of whiplash injuries are common in car accidents and major sports, such as football , boxing, and gymnastics. The minor ones are numerous, from birth on to the day we die. We fall, trip, loose our balance, bump into objects or each other, ride the car, the bus, or industrial vehicles. We participate in contact sports, dance, outdoor activities, and just life.
Because the spine is made up of 24 vertebrae (7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar) plus the sacrum and the coccyx (tail bone), with joints connecting them, it is quite flexible, allowing us to bend forward, backward, and sideways, as well as twist the upper body to one side or the other. The caveat: there are numerous opportunities for sprains, strains, and tears. When they are minor, we don’t even notice them. However, they accumulate over time, slowly reducing our strength, mobility, and resilience. For more read Craniosacral Therapy — Whiplash Injuries.
Conventional treatments for whiplash injuries
Whiplash injuries keep chiropractors and physical therapists very busy. Moreover, the pharma industry is prospering with the very widespread use of tylenol, and ibuprofen, as well as more heavy duty pain killers such as opiates.
Unfortunately, medications to reduce pain and inflammation are extremely hard on the liver, sometimes causing liver failure. They cause many side effects, and with long term use will decrease our quality of life while not helping us to heal from our injuries. Many people become dependent for life on these medications, entering a downward spiral of ever increasing pain and physical dysfunction.
Naturopathic physicians, trained in natural modalities, such as nutrition, lifestyle, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, as well as physical medicine, can help us recover from physical injuries, such as whiplash injuries, without the side effects of drugs. Chinese medicine also has much to offer via acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese physical medicine, as well as Chinese herbs.
Whiplash injuries are inherently complex.
Whiplash injuries involve muscles, the joints of the spinal column (spine), the vertebrae, the head bones (cranial bones), as well as the spinal cord that’s contained within the spine, the spinal nerves which exit the spinal cord through spaces in the spinal column, called intervertebral foramina, and the cranial nerves, exiting the skull through foramina (small openings) in the base of the skull.
One type of tissue ignored by many is the connective tissue, whose consistency can vary from jel-like to bone hard. In fact , bone is a specialized form of connective tissue. Other forms of connective tissue are the fascia, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
With trauma to the body, this connective tissue becomes twisted, torn, compressed, and stretched. As it heals, scars form and we notice that we can’t move as well as we used to. We feel tightness, discomfort, and often pain that just won’t go away.
We can appreciate now how many structures and types of tissue are involved in whiplash injuries. Hence, many approaches are needed to support the body’s own healing process. Naturopathic doctors, as well as Chinese doctors, do have this well-rounded training that enables them to support the healing from many different angles.
Alternative treatment methods to help the body repair itself.
Injuries break down tissue. Nutrition is of utmost importance to help rebuild the tissue. Herbs can help to alleviate pain, as well as speed up healing by improving circulation and helping to flush out metabolic toxins. Physical medicine, such as massage, stretching, range of motion work, orthopedic exercises, as well as acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, and, my favorite, craniosacral therapy, all help to restore muscle strength and function, as well as range of motion.
Over the years, I have developed energetic unwinding of the spine, joints & muscles, which is an intuitive blend of craniosacral therapy, acupressure, and soft tissue work. This form of therapy is particularly effective with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction because it helps the body to release the various restrictions in the connective tissue from old and new injuries.
Until the next natural healing perspective blog…