As the name implies, whiplash is a neck injury due to a person’s head being forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward, resembling the cracking of a whip.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash can injure bones in the spine. Disks that are located between the bones in the spine, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck can also be injured. Signs that you’ve been injured as a result of whiplash will generally develop within 24 hours. However, this is not always the case and symptoms can take longer to present themselves.
The most common symptoms of whiplash include neck stiffness, neck pain, decreased range of motion in the neck, neck pain when moving your neck, headaches, shoulder pain, upper back pain, arm pain, fatigue, dizziness, and tingling or numbness in the arms.
Less common symptoms of whiplash include hearing a ringing sound in the ears, being unable to sleep, blurry vision, irritability, difficulty staying focused, memory loss, and depression.
Who Is Affected?
Whiplash most commonly occurs during an auto accident. However, the injury can also be the result of physical abuse, a sports accident (such as a football tackle), or other trauma. It is not possible to predict how people affected with whiplash will recover. Those who initially experienced intense symptoms such as headaches, severe neck pain, or pain that spread to the arms, will be more likely to experience long-term chronic pain due to whiplash. Further, the worse outcomes from whiplash are typically observed in older people, people who have had whiplash previously, and in people with pre-existing spine-related pain.
The goals of whiplash treatment are generally to control pain and restore movement in the neck. Conservative treatment options may include ice, pain medications, wearing a neck support brace, massage therapy, and/or physical therapy. Fortunately, and when properly treated, most cases of whiplash will heal within six weeks of time. Whiplash does not generally require surgery. However, surgery may be necessary for those who experience severe or persistent neck or shoulder pain due to whiplash. It is also important to note that whiplash or whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) can sometimes lead to disability. Therefore, if you think you may be suffering from whiplash, it is very important to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan by our highly-trained spine specialists here at the Stridewell Same-Day Spine Clinic.
If you suspect that you may be injured as a result of whiplash, it is of utmost importance to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis to rule out broken bones or tissue damage that can cause or worsen your symptoms. Stridewell Tipsread article