Did you know that chiropractic care is an excellent approach for managing whiplash disorders? In the office treatment such as spinal manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, massage, and more is important for restoring motion and reducing pain in the neck and other areas. At home exercises maintain these improvements and reduce the risk of developing chronic pain or experiencing re-injury in the future.
When injured in a whiplash event like a car accident, the superficial muscles in the neck spasm to protect the nearby tissues from further injury. This means that short term this is a good thing, but if the movement remains restricted, the deep neck muscles that are important for maintaining posture become deconditioned.
If these neck muscles weekend, the superficial muscles that normally control voluntary movements will take on more work, this results in further weakening of the deep neck muscles and therefore set up a vicious cycle. A 2018 study followed 141 whiplash disorder patients for one year and found that those who were not able to return from their pre-injury work activities had an average of 50% reduction in neck muscle strength.
This is why it’s important to perform at home exercises to strengthen the deep neck flexor muscles and get them back to work.
An example of an exercise that you can perform is retracting your chin N-word followed by nodding your head. You can apply resistance and place your fist under your chin and slowly work against both the upward and downward movements. Start at about 10% maximum resistance. As you improve and intolerance allows you to add additional resistance and reps to your sets.
Come and visit us and we will show you the different ways to strengthen and recondition the deep neck muscles. We will have the ideal exercises for your unique case and give additional self-care recommendations to optimize the healing process for you.