Whiplash is a Neck Injury that most often occurs when there is a forceful or rapid back and forth motion of the neck, almost like the cracking of a whip.
Whiplash is a common injury that occurs during a motor vehicle accident, the backward and forward motion take the ligaments and muscles in the neck beyond their normal range of motion, resulting in neck pain.
Whiplash injuries in the neck can range from mild to severe, however, it's always best to receive Chiropractic Treatment after an injury like this occurs to ensure that it does not worsen or linger.
How Do I Get Whiplash?
Whiplash typically occurs when your head is forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward. This motion can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck.
Whiplash may result from:
- Auto accidents. Rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash.
- Physical abuse or assault. Whiplash can occur if you are punched or shaken. It's one of the injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
- Contact sports. Football tackles and other sports-related collisions can sometimes cause whiplash.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
The signs of whiplash will usually begin to present themselves within 24 hours of suffering from the injury.
Common symptoms may include neck pain and neck stiffness. You may also experience upper back pain.
This could range from a very mild, dull ache to severe pain and stiffness in the neck.
The neck muscles will often become stiff as the body's way of limiting movement and range of motion in order to protect the neck from becoming hurt further.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it's not uncommon for any movement of the neck to become very painful.
In some victims, the stiffness and pain may even be experienced in the shoulder blades or in the area between the shoulder blades.
10 symptoms of whiplash include:
Worsening Pain with Neck Movement
These signs and symptoms do not guarantee that you have suffered from a Whiplash injury, but they are likely symptoms you may experience if you have.
To know for you what is the cause of your suffering, you will need to be seen by an experienced Chiropractor.
How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Generally, whiplash can be diagnosed clinically by a thorough history and physical exam by your chiropractor.
In most cases of whiplash, injuries are to the soft tissues of the neck such as the discs, muscles, and ligaments, and cannot be seen on X-rays.
Specialized imaging tests, such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be needed to accurately diagnose whiplash, but are not required for the diagnosis.
How Long Does It Take To Heal From Whiplash?
The time it takes for symptoms to go away from whiplash varies greatly by person.
The majority of whiplash injuries heal within six weeks after the injury. However, there are 1/3 of people who report neck pain after ten years. Others have symptoms for the rest of their lives.
The initial level of pain that is felt within the first three weeks after suffering from whiplash has been found to be a good indication of whether or not a person will recover.
People who report severe pain have a significantly decreased chance of recovering fully.
Those with preexisting conditions, such as neck pain, arthritis in the neck, and headaches, generally have longer recovery times or suffer long-term effects.
Up to 75% of those with decreased movement in their neck are still disabled after one year.
In addition, instability in the neck increases your risk of re-injury in the future.
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
When you are involved in an accident, it is always highly recommended that you seek medical treatment as quickly as possible.
Chiropractors are your best choice for soft tissue injuries.
If you go to the ER or Urgent Care, that's great if your bleeding or think you have a broken bone.
However, if you have a whiplash injury, oftentimes they will not diagnose you properly and just hand you some pain medications.
While pain medications may seem appealing up-front, all they do is mask the pain that you are feeling which most often leads to people putting off the care that they actually need until the pain is much more unbearable.
When it comes to a whiplash injury, the longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse your injury can become, and you run the risk of suffering for much longer because you did not receive treatment in a timely manner.
Even if you are not experiencing whiplash symptoms after your accident, you are encouraged to seek chiropractic care.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose and begin treatment of your injury before it can worsen or become a chronic problem.
Chiropractic Care at Arrowhead Clinic
If you've recently been involved in an accident, and you think you may be suffering from whiplash, visit the expert chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic.
The chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic are experts at treating whiplash injuries, and they've been serving their respective communities for over 40 years.
If you were involved in an accident, do not put off seeking the treatment of an experienced Chiropractor.
Our whiplash injury chiropractors offer a free consultation to see how we can best assist with your recovery.
During your free consultation, your chiropractor will perform a complete physical exam and review your medical history so they can design a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Your treatment plan will likely include spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and nutritional recommendations.
The longer you wait to schedule your free consultation, the worse your condition will get. You don't want them to turn into a chronic issue.
Click below for your free consultation if you were in an accident and believe that you're suffering from a Whiplash Injury.
Next blog: Common Causes of Whiplash Injuries