Whiplash is a generic term used to describe a hyper extension and flexion injury to the neck. Often associated with car accidents, whiplash is a serious injury.
Did you know that whiplash injuries aren’t limited to car accidents?Do you know how to tell if you have whiplash or just a sore neck?
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a generic term used to describe a sprain/strain injury of the neck due to a forceful back and forth movement of the neck. Often when someone suffers from whiplash the force causes the ligaments of the neck to become injured with is the sprain portion and the muscles of the neck to become injured which is the strain portion of whiplash.
What causes whiplash?
Any large force that is incurred to the body and causes the head to “whip” back and forth can cause whiplash.
Such forces include:
- Automobile accident: especially rear-end collisions.
- Physical abuse or violence: oneself being punched or shaken
- Contact sports: football, soccer, and lacrosse to name a few.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Symptoms for whiplash usually develop within 24 hours of the accident. Symptoms of whiplash are:
- Neck pain
- Neck pain worse with movement
- Loss of range of motion or inability to move the neck
- Pain in the shoulders, arms and upper back
- Tingling and numbness in the arms
Some people also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Inability to sleep
If you have been in any type of accident and begin to experience any of these symptoms you should seek the advice of a qualified medical professional such as your medical doctor or chiropractor.
How do you treat whiplash?
It is important to remember to keep active after a whiplash injury.
Bed rest is ok for the first 24 hours but after that movement is vital.
If you stay inactive or wear a foam cervical collar you may be doing more harm than good. Inactivity and foam cervical collars lead to the weakening of the cervical muscles and can prolong your healing time.
It is highly recommended to seek professional medical care within 24 hours of your injury and your doctor can make recommendations on bed rest and cervical collars based on your individual case.
Treatments for whiplash include:
- Chiropractic care
- Physical Therapy
- At home exercises
- TENS unit therapy
- Ice or heat therapy
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Prescription medication
If you are experiencing whiplash symptoms and wish to discuss your treatment options please schedule your appointment today.