Whiplash or neck sprain is a neck injury that occurs due to the forceful movement of the neck. The rapid back and forth jerking motion causes damage in the form of a neck sprain or strain. When whiplash occurs, the disks, ligaments, intervertebral joints, and cervical muscles may become damaged. The condition can also cause damage to the nerve roots.
What Causes Whiplash
Whiplash is commonly caused by vehicle accidents. The condition can also be due to physical abuse, sports injuries, falls, and other forms of trauma. People involved in rear-end vehicle collisions often end up suffering from whiplash. When someone is punched or shaken, the assault can cause whiplash.
This is a form of injury that is evident in shaken baby syndrome. Individuals involved in contact sports often end up experiencing tackles and other collisions that can cause whiplash. Most people who get whiplash feel better after a few weeks of treatment.
Symptoms Of Whiplash
It is important to realize that symptoms can sometimes be delayed for up to 24 hours after the trauma. This means that the individual may feel fine immediately after the accident, only to present with symptoms a day later. Those who suffer from whiplash can experience one or more symptoms within days after the injury.
Some symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, loss of neck motion, and pain during neck movement. Other symptoms include headaches, pain, or tenderness in the shoulder, back, and arms, fatigue, and dizziness.
Complications Of Whiplash
Most people feel better within a few weeks after experiencing whiplash. However, there are cases where people continue to experience pain long after the injury. The pain can go on for months or even years. It is not easy to predict how each individual will recover from whiplash.
As a rule, those who experience intense symptoms, in the beginning, are more likely to have long-term chronic pain. Symptoms like severe neck pain and more limited movement can lead to chronic pain. Those who have had whiplash before are more likely to experience complications.
The injury often occurs on soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, and discs. This means that a standard X-ray cannot identify the injury. A CT scan and other specialized imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used during diagnosis. The imaging tests are used in identifying the severity and damage that is causing the whiplash.
Treatment Of Whiplash
It is important to realize that no single treatment has been identified as being effective in treating whiplash. Pain relief medication, as well as gentle exercises, are used for treating the condition. A treatment plan that includes physical therapy, massage, traction, injections, heat, and ice can be very effective. Ultrasound treatment has also proven to be helpful for some patients.
Make sure you see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of whiplash. If you have neck pain after a car accident or traumatic injury, seek immediate medical attention. Receiving immediate and accurate diagnosis will help to rule out serious damage that can cause more severe symptoms. Early treatment can help to prevent long-term health complications.
If you want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of whiplash, visit Oropeza Chiropractic Wellness Center at our offices in Key West, Florida. You can also call (305) 294-1036 to book an appointment today.