Whiplash occurs when your neck is subjected to a rigorous and sudden movement that is not usual. These movements can be in all directions such as forward, backward, or from one side to another. These movements damage the soft tissues, muscles, and tendons around your neck.
When the neck moves further, then it’s the usual range of movement, you might sprain and stretch your neck muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues. This often results in severe back pain and an awkward posture of your shoulders. Thus, you might experience discomfort around your neck.
Symptoms that relate to Whiplash
Symptoms of Whiplash are felt around 6-12 hours after the incident that caused it. Of course, you do start feeling the discomfort swiftly on the day of the incident or an accident, but the actual strain, pain, and swelling take a few days to develop and intensify.
—Neck pain and stiffness
—Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
—Pain in the shoulders or arms
—Vertigo (you feel you are spinning) and dizziness
—Temporary reduction in movement and mobility of the neck and the body.
—Swelling and tenderness in the neck
—Numbness and pain in the arms and hands
The severity of the symptoms does not depend on the extent of the whiplash, but the kind of incident the neck went through. Sometimes the symptoms disappear within a couple of weeks, but if the injury was severe, the symptoms can last for a few months and keep causing discomfort and neck pain. It can also limit the movement of the upper parts of your body.
What causes Whiplash Injuries?
The most common causes of Whiplash injuries are car accidents. Around 7,000 car accidents take place every day in our country. As a result, the neck is subjected to sudden and quick movements.
Sports is another major cause of whiplash injuries. In sports such as rugby and boxing, you can get hit around the region near your neck, which can cause a jolt in your neck, causing you to suffer a Whiplash injury. You can also suffer a slip or fall and land on your neck, which can be another cause for whiplash Injuries.
When should I consult A Doctor?
It’s usually always advisable to visit a doctor after any car accident, even minor ones where you don’t suffer from anything more than a few cuts or bruises. This is to diagnose and limit a problem before you even feel it or before it starts getting worse.
If you suffer severe pain or stiffness in and around the region of your neck after an accident, you would have most probably suffered a whiplash injury. Therefore, you must consult a Whiplash doctor as soon as possible.
How is Whiplash diagnosed?
Whiplash is the damage caused to the soft tissues of your neck, so it can’t be detected through an x-ray of your neck. What doctors usually do is assess your neck and how it moves. If there’s a limit of movement or pain while moving your neck, then it usually means you’ve suffered from Whiplash. Also, an x-ray test can be performed to rule out the possibilities of any broken bones or ligaments. Usually, all other possibilities are tested for and ruled out until Whiplash is the only possible injury. However, no test can straightforward tell you if the pain you suffer is through a Whiplash or not. A whiplash doctor would, however, be able to easily diagnose Whiplash, when compared to other doctors.
How is Whiplash treated?
Begin by taking ample amounts of rest, but don’t cut back on all forms of physical activities as those who do this take longer to recover from whiplash injuries as compared to those who don’t. You should add regular short and easy neck exercises to your routine so that your neck stays in motion and recovers quickly.
Adapt your schedule to give more time for your neck to heal. As the pain decreases, you can ease into your pre-whiplash routine. Also, you should instantly visit a whiplash doctor so that you can get it treated professionally.
Regularly ice the area where you’re suffering pain. Icing will help in the relaxation around the body part where the Whiplash has occurred.
You may also need to cut back on some work and recreational activities so that you do not cause strain on your neck, because if this does happen, it will prolong your recovery process and cause even more pain.
Another necessary thing is to have a correct posture and stand and keep your back straight while standing, sitting, or lying down. This helps prevent stiffness and pain from increasing.
Also, avoid lifting heavy things, excessively pulling something, and punching things. You should limit sports activities and not do any rigorous activities so that you can take care of your Whiplash and not let it exceed.
Can Whiplash be prevented?
To some extent Cars nowadays are designed to limit and prevent Whiplash at all. The seats are now comfier, and the headrests are better. However, the seats and the headrests need to be set according to your height otherwise, you won’t be able to reap its benefits.
Also, it’s necessary to align your steering wheel at the level of your chest instead of your head to prevent Whiplash. Try to maintain a straight posture while driving by setting your seat height and incline accordingly.
Complications caused by Whiplash
Serious Whiplash injuries can many times cause severe nerve, muscle, and tendon damages, which can take many months to heal. Also, in some cases, the neck bone can dislocate, due to which some deformities may occur.
In most cases, patients completely recovery from Whiplash. While many can end up having permanent discomfort, pain, and limited movement of the neck. Also, if a patient falls into depression or post-traumatic stress, their chances of recovery decrease. So it’s necessary to stay positive, drive safe, and in case you do experience Whiplash, then believe in yourself and keep your head up as you recover.