Whiplash is an injury to the neck that occurs when the head whips forward and back in an unstable manner. This motion resembles the way a whip works, which is how the condition got its name. Typically, women are at a far greater risk of getting this type of injury since a female’s neck is much more delicate than a man’s. Whiplash injuries range from mild to severe; mild cases of whiplash can be treated with over-the-counter medications and rest while severe cases need to be examined by a medical professional. On average, people who get whiplash recover in a few weeks, but if the injury is severe, the patient might end up with life-long pain.
The Symptoms of Whiplash Injury
Whiplash starts to develop within 12 to 24 hours after the trauma. The first symptom of whiplash is stiffness and discomfort in the neck. If you notice that you can’t move your neck to the side or touch your chest with your chin, you might develop whiplash within a few hours. Another common symptom of this injury is pain at the base of the skull. This occurs, usually, because of inflammation. Other common symptoms of whiplash include the following: dizziness, insomnia, inability to concentrate, weird sensation in the ears and vision impairment. People with severe cases of whiplash are unable to move their head due to discomfort, have pain in their shoulders and experience numbness in the arms. If you have some of those symptoms, it’s important to seek immediate medical help.
Causes of Whiplash Injury
There are several ways a person can get whiplashed. The most common cause of whiplash, though, is rear end auto collisions. Rear end collisions usually cause the head to go forward and back at an alarming rate; the impact usually damages the ligaments and joints in and around the neck. Athletes, especially football players, are at a great risk of developing whiplash. Football tackles are dangerous as they can lead to head injuries and damage to the neck. Physical abuse, like punches to the face, can also lead to whiplash.
Treatment for Whiplash
Whiplash can lead to lifelong pain and serious medical complications if it’s not treated properly. Luckily, there are several treatment options for this injury. The first step to recovering from this injury is to get a diagnosis; this can be accomplished by getting an X-ray, CTR scan or MRI on the affected area. Once a doctor or chiropractor diagnoses the condition, he/she must select the appropriate treatment for whiplash. If the injury is minor, the course of treatment is pain medications in conjunction with rest. People with severe pain might need injections to numb the area or more potent pain killers. Additionally, a neck brace might be needed in some cases of whiplash to prevent further injury to the area.
Physical therapy can help a person with whiplash regain the mobility they used to have; it can also help the ligaments heal faster. While recovering from whiplash, patients are advised to avoid situations where they can strain their neck. Overall, it’s advised to slow down and get enough rest. The doctors at La Clinica SC of Chicago and Cicero are experts in treating whiplash injuries and offer a free initial consultation. To schedule your free consultation, you can call our toll-free line (773)-278-9525 or book an appointment online HERE.