Whiplash is a form of a neck injury. It is one of the most common forms of neck injury that may occur at least once in a person’s lifetime.
This neck injury occurs when a person’s neck goes through sudden trauma of rapid back and forth movements. It resembles the back and forth movement of a whip hence called whiplash injury.
For some people, this injury may not be that serious and has high recovery rates. It usually takes the majority of people a few weeks to recover from a whiplash injury.
Given that they follow proper treatments and physical therapy prescribed by their doctor. Whiplash after car accidents is the most common. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medications and possibly a neck foam to give your neck extra support.
Whiplash Symptoms, Diagnosis and Causes:
Whiplash mostly occurs after your head has been unwillingly and rapidly thrown back and forth. This forceful, rapid motion can cause some bones in the spinal cord to injure.
Whiplash, also known as neck strain or sprain may occur due to these reasons:
Car accidents: Motor vehicle collisions, mostly rear-ended may be a reason for whiplash injury.
Physical assault: Being repeatedly punched, thrown, and/or kicked may result in a whiplash injury due to the sudden trauma caused to the neck during this violent contact. Also shaking violently may be another cause.
Sports: Some sports like football and wrestling where a player gets tackled, or a hard fall during a game may result in a whiplash injury.
If you have gone through any of the events above, then you may notice these signs and symptoms of a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injuries leave you with chronic pain. The pain is quite hard to ignore and disrupts your daily life schedule. Some symptoms of a whiplash injury are:
- Pain in the neck that may spread to the shoulders and back
- Trouble moving your head back and forth, forward and upward
- Stiffness of neck
- Frequent headaches are traceable to the bottom of the skull
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Pain when trying to move your head to look at each shoulder
- Memory loss
- Muscle spasms that you cannot seem to control.
- Numbness or pricking needle sensation in the arms.
- Other symptoms include:
- Tinnitus (Ringing in ear)
- Blurry vision
When should you visit a doctor?
If you have at least five symptoms of a whiplash injury or have recently met a car accident then the safe thing to do would be to see your doctor because sometimes the pain may not occur immediately.
It might take a few hours or a few days to show signs of a neck injury. If a whiplash injury from car accidents or other accidents remains untreated, it may get worse and longer to heal.
Medical practitioners can give you a proper diagnosis by examining your signs and symptoms and also by asking you a series of questions. Other than this, your doctor may order an X-RAY, CT scan, or an MRI.
These tests will help to give a clearer image of where the damaged tissues. These tests are not an absolute necessity, since most practitioners may diagnose you with a physical exam.
Treatments and after-care:
The good news is that a whiplash injury is treatable and with proper treatment, your neck will heal in a few weeks!
With your treatments, you want to treat the pain, get back to your normal life, and restore your neck to its original range of motion. Some treatments that you can do are down below:
Ice or heat: Do this as soon as possible, after the injury! It will help in reducing neck pain and swelling. Do this regularly with short breaks in between for 24 hours. Apply the cold or hot compress to the injured area.
Rest: It is crucial that you rest your neck and body to relieve some of the pain. Too much body movement after a whiplash injury will only make the situation worse. Avoid activities while your neck is weak.
Physical therapy: This is to be done by a professional. Physical therapy for the neck may include slight movements to lessen the soreness of muscles.
Over the counter medication: OTC medication can help relieve the pain while you wait to visit your doctor. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin IB and Advil), can help to control less to moderate whiplash pain.
Prescription medication: When you visit your doctor, they will prescribe you pain medications and muscle relaxants to ease the pain. Take them regularly, as prescribed.
Support for neck: To give your neck extra support to help the healing process, you may ask a doctor if you can use a soft neck brace. The neck brace helps temporarily. Just till your neck regains some strength.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is the process of inserting fine needles through specific areas on your skin. It may offer some relief from neck pain, as it promotes faster growth and has a lot of relaxing properties.
Chiropractor: You may visit a chiropractor. The chiropractor will perform joint manipulation methods. It may help in causing some pain relief and if alongside this, medication and physical therapy, your neck may recover faster.
A whiplash injury hurts a lot but knowing that it is healable, may help you feel relieved. If you are suffering from a whiplash injury after a car accident or physical, sports accidents then it is highly advised that you start at home remedies instantly, until you can visit your doctor.
Avoid leaning your head at all, avoid activities that require neck movement. Take bed rest for at least a week to help your neck regain its strength. You should also regularly visit your doctors so that a professional can track your recovery.
If you do not follow the treatment plan accordingly, your neck may never heal properly and you might suffer from on and off neck pain. Hope this article helped you out.