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The Complete Guide to Whiplash Injuries

Posted by Florida Spine and Injury | Mar 12, 2018 11:47:35 AM

Knowing and Understanding a Whiplash Injury

What is WhiplashIf you have been involved in a car accident and are now experiencing a pain in your neck or back this ache is probably being caused by Whiplash, and there's more to it than just some soreness whenever you try moving your neck.

Whiplash is a reasonably common injury that takes place when there's sudden movement of the head and neck, which often happens during car accidents.

As such, it doesn't matter if the accident takes place inside a car. If there's an instance that your head and neck suddenly accelerates and decelerates in a very quick fashion, then it can cause whiplash.

If you think you have whiplash and would like to understand more about the ailment, then continue reading our Complete Guide to Whiplash Injuries.


Article Table of Contents:

A Brief History of the Term "Whiplash"

Whiplash was first used back in the year 1928, and it promotes similar signs, symptoms, and effects of another medical term known as "railway spine."

However, railway spine is known to describe a condition that involved people in train accidents before 1928. The medical term is now known as "whiplash injury", and describes an event that takes place in the head and neck areas that includes a sudden acceleration and deceleration in these areas.

There's also a more chronic and severe condition known as "whiplash associated disorders," and it does happen to some individuals.

Thankfully, whiplash isn't particularly life-threatening, but it can lead to partial disability if left alone for a prolonged period of time. Any individual who refuses to have whiplash-related injuries checked by a medical professional might lose work productivity and acquire a lower quality of life.

The Anatomy of a Whiplash Injury

What does Whiplash Look LikeAny trauma to the neck because of involuntary and abrupt movement will cause pain and injury.

Whiplash can make the neck and other surrounding areas to become sore and painful, and it'll ultimately make it difficult for the patient to move around properly.

It might seem like just a minor pain from the start, but whiplash can be a complicated scenario.

There are times when x-rays will show normal results even though the patient still experiences pain in the neck, back, shoulder, and head areas.

Even if it feels like the pain is all over the place, most of the damage from the incident should be found in the cervical spine.

The Cervical Spine is the technical name for the neck, and there might be muscle tears and inflammation in this area when the patient acquires whiplash.

If there are problems in the cervical spine, then it can cause issues with the head as well. It's because the neck supports the entire weight of the head.

The Main Causes of Whiplash

Reports indicate that the main causes of whiplash injuries are because of motor vehicle accidents. It takes place when the person inside the car isn't moving, but it's then struck by another vehicle from behind.

The resulting movement of the head and neck will cause these areas of the body to hyperextend. After a short delay from the incident, the head and neck can revert back to its original positions, but it's now thrown into a hyperflexed state.

It can then lead to an abnormal shape found in the cervical spine right, and it can happen the instant the head and neck springs back from a forward position.

The abnormal movement causes damage to the soft tissues, and these can put unwanted stress and pressure to certain areas like facet capsules, muscles, and ligaments.

Whiplash Symptoms

Some whiplash-related symptoms will happen right after the incident, while there are some that can take place 24 to 48-hours after the event.

Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

Guide to Whiplash Injury Symptoms

  • stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • arm pain
  • arm weakness
  • jaw pain
  • visual disturbances
  • ringing sound in the ears
  • back pain.

As for the symptoms of the more severe and chronic whiplash associated disorder, some of its common symptoms include the following: depression, frustration, anxiety, stress, anger, drug dependency, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insomnia.

Diagnosing Whiplash

After the vehicular accident, the patient can immediately seek the help of a doctor for an examination. The doctor can then perform a number of tests on the individual to determine if there are injuries that require immediate treatment.

There are sometimes when the doctor can recommend placing a collar on the neck for support if the damage to the soft tissues requires further maintenance.

The collar is often suggested if the patient continues to experience neck pain even if the x-ray results are normal. If x-rays can't determine the root problem for the pain, then the doctor can schedule an MRI session for the patient.

Whiplash Treatments

The treatment for whiplash depends on the broad range of symptoms experienced by the patient. Perhaps the most important aspect of the entire treatment program for whiplash is for the doctor to properly educate the patient about the injury.

It'll include detailed information about the cause, potential outcomes, and possible treatment programs available. Patients should also understand that whiplash isn't something that can just be disregarded as something like when you stub a toe.

Some patients might experience more pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and muscles than others, but do understand that almost all individuals who have whiplash can fully recover.

Patients who don't receive proper information about the injury are more likely to develop chronic whiplash associated disorder. Before, treatment for whiplash was often found to be the application of a soft cervical collar wherein the patient has to wear the medical device for weeks.

The goal for wearing the collar was to reduce the range of motion of the neck to prevent any further harm or damage to the neck. However, immobilizing the neck area can slow the healing process.

Also, this apparatus shows no evidence of fixing spinal alignment after the incident. Modern medicine now leads whiplash patients to undergo chiropractic care or physical therapy for the diagnosis and treatment of whiplash and its symptoms.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care After a Car Accident

Chiropractic Care for WhiplashCar accidents can happen at any time and any place while you're on the road. You might be casually waiting in line to get to the toll booth one morning and then the vehicle behind you suddenly floors it, resulting in your head and neck acting like a bobblehead.

The resulting incident can cause a whiplash, and you can seek the help of a certified and licensed chiropractor to help with the diagnosis and treatment of the injury.

Read on to know the benefits of chiropractic care for whiplash patients.

Get the Lowdown on the Injury

As already mentioned in a previous section of this post, the root area of concern for the injury might not be apparent from the start.

Patients might experience a slight pain in the back of their heads, necks, or shoulders, but some might just brush it off as nothing but a minor ache.

Not seeking the help of a chiropractor can lead to more severe symptoms. The symptoms of whiplash can take hours, days, or sometimes even weeks before they surface. It's important to head to a center for chiropractic care to get yourself checked right after the incident whenever possible.

Lessens Inflammation

Any accident resulting in a whiplash can cause micro-tears in the muscles and ligaments. The sad thing about this predicament is that x-rays can't catch these tiny tears.

These rips are also the main reason why most people tend to wake up form a car crash with a severe pain to the neck area. However, once they take a look at their x-ray results, it'll look normal.

Chiropractors can use spinal manipulation techniques to realign the spinal cord. In doing so, it'll help the body in releasing anti-inflammatory substances to help in the reduction of inflammation and relieve pain symptoms.

Chiropractic Care is a Non-Invasive Treatment

Patients who wait too long to seek the help of chiropractic care might have to result in undergoing surgery just to recover from the incident.

However, if the patient seeks medical attention right after the incident, then know that chiropractors can perform non-invasive procedures that may lead to the patient having a full recovery from whiplash.

Many people think that Chiropractic Care should be the last thing on their list whereas it should be on the first. The non-invasive procedure will significantly reduce pain while letting the body heal itself without the need for any surgical practice.

Reduces the Occurrence of Scar Tissue

Scar tissue can develop inside the body, specifically on muscles after a car accident. These tears on the muscles can cause the patient to feel stiff and uncomfortable.

There are also some pains involved whenever the patient tries to move some parts of their bodies, especially in the neck, head, back, and shoulder areas.

A chiropractic doctor can carefully diagnose and treat problematic areas. In doing so, these medical professionals can break up scar tissue at a quicker rate than what the body can naturally handle.

Chiropractic care can ensure that the injured person will heal better and faster as compared to letting the victim avoid the treatment altogether.

Relief From Pain Without the Help of Drugs

Man Being treated for WhiplashAside from not seeking the help of invasive surgical procedures to treat whiplash, chiropractors can use special methods to relieve pain without the assistance of drugs.

Many people think that the symptoms and injuries associated with whiplash are treatable with over-the-counter medications.

However, some drugs can only make the symptoms worse rather than helping the body heal itself. Furthermore, some pain relief medicines are extremely addictive because of their sedation effects.

Users of these drugs may feel better after consuming the product, but they'll find that stopping the consumption is difficult. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if the user of the pain relief drug tries to stop the consumption.

On the other hand, chiropractic treatments can address the source of the problem without relying on any invasive or consumable medications.

As a result, chiropractors can help the body in healing the actual injury instead of just masking the pain with good feelings.

Pain Reduction for the Entire Body

If the brain is the central command of the body, then the spinal column is the all-important satellite that sends information to the rest of the body.

If there are any misalignments to the spinal cord, then imbalances and pain can resonate throughout several areas of the body.

Chiropractic adjustments, especially if done after a car accident can help in reducing pain for the entire body. It's because chiropractors can realign the spinal cord using proper manipulations.

The process will ultimately alleviate pain for the entire body, even though some areas might not be part of the injury in the first place.

Drives Away Long-Term Pain

Seek the attention of a chiropractic doctor right after a car accident, and they'll help your body in releasing a pain-reducing hormone.

The release of the substance is done through spinal manipulations, and it'll help the affected area feel less painful than before.

Chiropractic treatments will also assist in improving other areas of the body that may feel pain even before the car accident. As a result, long-term pain can be avoided, and there's very little to no risk of experiencing chronic whiplash disorder.

Restores Range of Motion

Any whiplash patient knows that it becomes difficult to move the neck and head around after the incident. It's because the buildup of inflammation that occurs in the problem areas will restrict movement.

The blood and nutrients from the body will also find it difficult to reach the affected areas because of the inflammation, thus slowing the entire healing process.

When you receive chiropractic adjustments, the procedure will help mobilize the spine, thereby restoring the range of motion to problematic areas.

Ultimately, this will restore the body's natural healing process to treat the injury at a quicker rate than just leaving the damage alone.

If you think you have whiplash, then you should seek out an experienced Florida Whiplash Chiropractor to ensure that you give yourself the best chance at a full recovery.

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