Have You Been In A Car Accident?
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries that can occur during rear-end car collision, but also may happen from sport injuries, falls, incidents and work injuries. When your head suddenly moves backward and then forward, this movement strains and pushes cervical spine and ligaments out of their normal range of motion.
What structures are injured in a whiplash?
Although your neck is a durable part of your body, it is also very complex and sensitive. When whiplash occurs, your ligaments that support and protect your vertebrae get torn. This condition in medicine is called a sprain. Also the facet joints in the back of your spine are covered with facet capsules that are known to be very susceptible to car-related injuries.
Strain: After the car collision your muscles and tendons can often get stretched out of their normal range. Additionally, your nerve roots can be affected as well, causing discomfort and pain. In some rare severe cases after the car accident your vertebrae can get fractured or dislocated.
What are the common signs and symptoms of whiplash?
Among the most common symptoms of whiplash I would name neck stiffness and pain that located in the “whiplashed” areas of your body. For example, during a car accident, your upper-cervical spine undergoes a series of sudden movements. This motion causes main symptoms to be located in the front or back of your neck. You may have trouble turning your head from side to side and up and down due to discomfort and pain.
Headaches at the base of your skull can accompany most whiplash injuries. They are seen in more than 2/3 of all car collision victims. Car related headaches can be of two types:
- unilateral (affects one side of your head)
- bilateral (affects both sides of your head)
Some patients can also experience discomfort and pain in their shoulders, arms, upper back and upper chest.
Other common symptoms and signs of whiplash include: nausea, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, vertigo, irritability, fatigue, ringing in the ears, difficulty concentrating, but most of them disappear within a short time. Sometimes patients can feel pain irradiating in their jaws.
However, if these symptoms persist for a long period of time or your condition gets worse, you have to visit your doctor immediately. In some rare cases these symptoms may be present for weeks, months or even years.
Whiplash victims usually don’t feel any pain or symptoms right after the car crash; the first signs of injury appear between 2 and 48 hours after the collision happened. This is why it is extremely important to seek medical examination after the car accident. It has been proven that the damage to the car is not directly proportional to the damage to its passengers.
How is whiplash treated?
There are several ways you can treat whiplash after a car accident. First and foremost, stay active, unless there are health issues that prevent you from doing it yet. You shouldn’t be afraid to move, lead your normal life, within reason, of course. Often doctors prescribe a set of exercises and stretching programs that will help you get on track quicker. Always follow your doctor’s advice to get back your pre-accident life as soon as possible.
Second, attend physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation session, as they prove to reduce the muscle spasm and control pain better.
Your chiropractor after a thorough evaluation of you current condition can prescribe you other physical treatment that may include ultrasound, electro-stimulation. In addition, your doctor may change or adjust your exercise and diet programs as well. Can whiplash be prevented? Unfortunately, car whiplash cannot be prevented, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting in a car accident. First of all, always wear restraints, even when sitting in the back seat of the car. Second, adjust the headrest according to your height. And finally, when driving, be focused on the road and stay safe!