Tag Archives: natural treatment for whiplash

Pain from auto injury can lead to post traumatic osteoarthritis

Post-traumatic osteoarthritis, where inflammation of the joint cartilage develops after a car accident, is not uncommon. For example, about 12% of all cases of osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and ankle are preceded by some type of trauma or accident in America. A primary injury occurs at these joints, and then later on a debilitating form of osteoarthritis can develop in the same areas.

How does this happen?

Biomechanical factors such as car accident induced trauma, ligament laxity, joint instability are drivers for the development in osteoarthritis.  It is thought that micro-trauma around the joint activates an immune response causing inflammation.  This response triggers degeneration of cartilage and initiates new bone formation (often seen as bone spurs). As a result, the bones of the affected joint begin to rub against each other. This can produce pain, place high stress on the remaining joint cartilage, and can make the entire joint area unstable.

Unlike headaches or back pain, post-traumatic arthritis is not an immediate manifestation after an accident. It takes time for the erosion of the cartilage to occur. Early manifestations may be slight pain and stiffness in the affected area. This will usually increase over time.

To sum up, joint injury triggers a chronic remodeling process in cartilage and other joint tissues that ultimately manifests as osteoarthritis in a majority of the cases. Prevention of an over active inflammatory response may be the key to help reduce the chances of posttraumatic arthritis. Acupuncture is an excellent therapy to help with post-traumatic pain as researchers found that cytokines – molecules that help reduce inflammation – can be stimulated with acupuncture1. Naturopathic medicine aimed to reduce inflammation is also very helpful. Treatments are often tailored to individual’s needs. Common suggested protocol may include curcumin, omega 3s, bromelain.

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What is Whiplash?

Whiplash describes a range of injuries to the neck usually associated with a motor vehicle accident. The exact injury mechanism that causes whiplash is unknown. It is a combination of damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and often a misalignment of the spine. The symptoms include, pain in the back and neck, referred pain into the shoulders, a pins and needles feeling in the arms and legs, headaches, decreased range of motion, tenderness, knotted muscles and cognitive issues such as, easily distracted or irritated. Whiplash symptoms can show up right after the crash, but often are not felt for a few days.

It has been said that the best way to treat whiplash and to prevent chronic pain in the future is movement. Any sort of movement can be difficult when you’re in pain. Both trigger point injections and acupuncture can help with this.
It is commonly known that acupuncture is great for helping with muscle stress, easing pain and to promote healing. Acupuncture stimulates the flow of fresh blood which helps move nutrients into the areas that need it to repair damage. The damage might take a longer time to heal without the help of acupuncture guiding the body to help itself.
Recovery after an accident takes time, even minor ones. Daily activities and things we want to do get put aside when people are in pain. Both of these treatment procedures will help to alleviate pain faster so that healing can begin. Without the discomfort of muscle knots and other soft tissue injuries, movement becomes easier and life can resume.

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