After a car accident, you may notice neck pain. It could be a slight soreness that you think is nothing but take care more than likely you have whiplash. And that little soreness can turn into a lifetime of chronic neck pain if only treated with pain meds and not treated at the source.
Whiplash trauma aka as neck sprain or neck strain is an injury to the soft tissues around the neck.
Whiplash can be described as a sudden extension or backward movement of the neck and flexion or forward movement of the neck.
This injury usually comes from a rear-end car accident.
Severe whiplash can also include injury to the:
- Intervertebral joints
- Cervical muscles
- Nerve roots
Symptoms of Whiplash
Most people experience neck pain either immediately after the injury or several days later.
Other symptoms of whiplash trauma can include:
- Neck stiffness
- Injuries to the muscles and ligaments around the neck
- Headache and dizziness
- Symptoms & possible concussion
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing
- Hoarseness (possible injury to the esophagus and larynx)
- The sensation of burning or prickling
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
Diagnosis of Whiplash Trauma
Whiplash trauma usually causes damage to the soft tissues, a doctor will take x-rays of the cervical spine for in case of delayed symptoms and rule out other problems or injuries.
Fortunately, whiplash is treatable and most symptoms resolve completely.
Most often whiplash is treated with a soft cervical collar.
This collar may need to be worn for 2 to 3 weeks.
Other treatments for individuals with whiplash may include the following:
- Heat treatment for relaxing muscle tension and pain
- Pain meds such as analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory’s
- Muscle relaxants
- Motion exercises
- Physical therapy
The symptoms of whiplash typically begin to decline in 2 to 4 weeks.
For those who have symptoms during treatment may need to keep the neck immobilized with a halter at work or home.
This is called cervical traction.
Local anesthetic injections can help when necessary.
Continuing symptoms or worsening symptoms after 6 to 8 weeks may require more x-rays and more diagnostic testing to see if there is a more severe injury.
Severe extension injuries like whiplash can damage the intervertebral discs. If this happens, then surgery may be necessary.
El Paso, TX Whiplash Chiropractic Rehabilitation
Some people will tell you that whiplash is a made-up injury that people use to get more money in a settlement stemming from an accident. They do not believe it is possible in a low-speed rear-end accident and see it as a legitimate injury claim, mainly because there are no visible marks.
Some insurance experts claim that about a third of whiplash cases are fraudulent, but that leaves two-thirds of the cases legitimate. There is also a great deal of research that supports the claim that low-speed accidents can indeed cause whiplash – and it is very, very real. Some patients suffer from pain and immobility for the rest of their lives.
Chiropractors will use different techniques to relieve the pain of whiplash and help with healing.
- Chiropractic Adjustment – The chiropractor performs spinal manipulation to gently move the joints into alignment. This will help to align the body to relieve pain and encourage healing.
- Muscle Stimulation and Relaxation – This involves stretches the muscles that are affected, relieving tension and helping them to relax. Finger pressure techniques may also be combined with the stretching to relieve pain.
- McKenzie Exercises – These exercises help with disc derangement that whiplash causes. They are first performed in the chiropractor’s office, but the patient can be taught how to do them at home. This helps the patient have some degree of control in their own healing.
Each whiplash case is different. A chiropractor will evaluate the patient and determine the appropriate treatment on a case by case basis. The chiropractor will determine the best course of treatment that will relieve your pain and restore your mobility and flexibility.