Whiplash is one of the most common causes of neck pain. Millions of Americans are diagnosed with whiplash and its related injuries every year. The good news is that whiplash itself is not a very serious or debilitating condition. However, it does help to have a timely diagnosis made about the condition so you can get the appropriate treatment and management on time.
Having as much information about whiplash as possible will help you recognize the symptoms and get the help you need. So here is everything you need to know about whiplash and how to treat it:
What is Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash occurs when your head is forcefully jerked in a position that is outside the range of motion of your muscles. It can potentially damage the bone structure of the cervical region, as well as the surrounding soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.)
It is not a life-threatening condition by any means, but if it is not promptly diagnosed and treated it may leave the person with lifelong complications pertaining to the neck.
How do you get Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injury is most commonly associated with car accidents. While any kind of car impact can potentially cause whiplash, it most commonly occurs when a person is sitting in an unmoving car that is impacted by a moving car from the rear end. The moving car does not need to be going at high speed for whiplash injury to occur.
This particular pattern of motion causes the head to jerk violently backward and then forward as well. Since the range of motion is not within the normal limits of the muscular movements of the neck, the muscles undergo considerable strain and cause pain, stiffness, and discomfort to the affected.
Contrary to popular belief, whiplash is not particular to automobile accidents only. While automobile accidents in the recent history of the patient are useful for making a conclusive diagnosis, there are other reasons why a person can get whiplash injury.
Most commonly, these reasons include sports injuries in high-impact sports such as skiing, football, boxing, and even gymnastics.
In any case, do not diagnose yourself and do not self-medicate under any circumstances. If you have symptoms of a whiplash injury, you should go to a medical professional to get your diagnosis and treatment options.
How do you Know you Have Whiplash Injury?
The most common symptoms of whiplash injury are pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms often arise right after the accident, but sometimes can take weeks after the accident to surface. So you cannot rule out the possibility of having whiplash injury for at least a couple of months after the accident has occurred.
Do not diagnose yourself with having whiplash injury, though. If you believe you have all the symptoms, go to a doctor for a conclusive diagnosis.
The doctor is going to ask for X-Rays of the affected areas and if your bone structure or tissues have been compromised, the doctor will proceed with a treatment plan.
Keep in mind that neck pain because of accidents and injuries can also be because of more threatening issues and only the doctor can tell you if that is the case.
What are the Symptoms of Having a Whiplash Injury?
The most common symptoms of whiplash injury are neck pain and stiffness in the neck. However, there are other symptoms that are commonly associated with the condition as well. These include headaches, pain in the jaw, stiffness, and pain in the shoulder, fatigue, dizziness, pain, and weakness in the arms, ringing in the ears, and even back pain.
Keep in mind that whiplash can be on a minor scale and resolve on its own with time, or be a little more severe and need medical attention. The symptoms you have mimic the severity of the injury as well.
There are some more serious symptoms associated with serious cases of whiplash and its associated conditions. These include depression, insomnia, anxiety, stress, and even drug dependency. However, these symptoms often arise when proper medical attention is not given to the injury.
How do You Treat Whiplash?
There are countless amazing options for whiplash treatment in Tucker. It is not difficult to treat Whiplash, especially when it is diagnosed early before the psychological issues kick in.
The doctor may obtain one or more X-Rays of your cervical region to make a proper diagnosis and see the severity of the injury. After that, the doctor might prescribe a collar that the patient will have to wear for a certain amount of time; usually not longer than a week. During this period, the bone structure is allowed to stabilize and the soft tissues that have been damaged are given a chance to heal while the neck is not moving.
When the collar is taken off, the doctor will usually refer the patient to a physiotherapist or recommend simple exercise to encourage the movement of the neck. This is because the muscles will need to be moved into their normal condition again.
After the collar is taken off, the patient must slowly move their head and do simple exercises to bring everything back to normal.
Other than that, you can take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine prescribed by your doctor to relieve the pain and swelling in the region as well.
How can you Prevent Whiplash Injury?
There is no real way you can prevent whiplash injury because you can usually not see it coming and there is not much you can do during the impact. However, new cars are being designed in ways that minimize damage to passengers during car accidents.
Keep in mind to always wear your seatbelt and remain secure in your position in the car. Drive safely and take all the precautions you can to prevent any damages to yourself and others in the car with you.
Again, whiplash is not a debilitating condition and can easily resolve if you get the appropriate medical attention.