New Whiplash Treatments In Regenerative Medicine
The effects of whiplash often diminish after a few weeks of rehab – but not always.
We know people can suffer whiplash from being rear-ended in their car, but rough contact sports and physical abuse can also be culprits. Having one’s head forcefully snap forward then backward is an unnatural motion that can result in neck pain and stiffness, tingling or numbness, and headaches.
In more serious cases, though, complications can include chronic neck pain, sleep problems, spine problems, and even impact on mental functioning. Unfortunately, the effects of whiplash, especially when accompanied by concussion, aren’t thoroughly understood by doctors, which means they’re sometimes under-diagnosed and under-treated.
With the many ‘structures’ in the neck, there are many ways whiplash can do damage.
Muscles, ligaments, and joints are just a few of the vulnerable body parts that can be affected. The type of damage can also be affected by the angle of impact, position of the body, and whether the air bags deployed, so you can see why there’s no simple ‘one size fits all’ option for whiplash treatment.
If ‘routine’ therapies haven’t significantly reduced whiplash symptoms after 4 to 6 months, it may be time for another approach. Fortunately, the growing field of regenerative medicine presents some new options for whiplash treatment in Atlanta.
By using the body’s own healing power, regenerative medicine offers a natural approach.
Most importantly, regenerative techniques work to resolve the underlying problem rather than simply treat the symptoms. However the field is relatively new and effectiveness can vary case to case, but specialists are continually refining their practices for better and better outcomes.
The type of regenerative treatment for whiplash varies, based on the extent and type of damage and the symptoms. When soft tissue in the neck has been damaged by whiplash, doctors turn to one of several types of Protein-Rich Plasma (PRP). Derived from the person’s own whole blood, PRP is rich in growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
For the chronic effects of whiplash, PRP can be surpercharged with the right ingredients.
A material known as Wharton’s jelly, derived from umbilical cords, have been shown to enhance the soft-tissue ‘regrowth’ effects of PRP. For joint injuries caused by whiplash, a combination of Wharton’s jelly and amniotic fluid appear to be most effective, although some individuals may require a combination of stem cells derived from their own body along with PRP. Patient-derived stem cell therapy is not for everybody patient age, patient medical status and other factors.
The goal is to augment the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to reduce pain and inflammation, and to improve movement, as rapidly as possible. Though outcomes vary, some improvement should be felt within 2-6 weeks after injection.
Since regenerative medicine is still a developing science, a careful review is made of each person’s condition before the doctor plans an appropriately customized treatment. It’s been found that certain regenerative treatments may be more effective under a certain age.
Traditional whiplash treatments that continue for too long can have risks too.
While commonly-prescribed injections of steroids and local anesthetics can temporarily relieve pain, repeated use of these agents can cause weakening of cartilage, connective tissue, and ligaments. Certain pain medications taken for whiplash pain can also be habit-forming and/or negatively impact daily function.
Physical Therapy and chiropractic treatment can also be a part of any treatment plan. But when used alone, if no improvement is felt after several months, PT or chiropractic may not be the right solution by themselves, and certain repeated exercises can even potentially do harm.