Whiplash is a term that describes a neck injury that occurs as a result of an auto accident. The most common auto accident is getting hit in the rear. This type of auto accident has the greatest risk of injury to the neck. The world we live in today relies heavily on car transportation. In a world with a lot of cars, there is a lot of accidents. This could be due to heavy or congested traffic in populated cities.
History of Whiplash
Whiplash at one time was called “railway spine”. The first documented case of whiplash was in 1919. Whiplash got its name when cars came onto the scene. The whipping of the neck from getting hit in a rear end accident coined the name whiplash.
Causes of Whiplash
A car accident can cause injuries to bones in the neck and back along with torn or over extended ligaments and tendons. Whiplash is probably the most controversial auto accident injury. The Whiplash injury is called by physicians as “distortion of the cervical spine”. Many years ago, cars did not have headrest. These days every car has a headrest.
Your head at one time would never hit anything in a rear end auto accident. In modern cars your head slams against the headrest when it gets slammed backwards in the collision. This force on your head may not leave any external injuries, but it is possible that you may have suffered some internal head injuries. It is possible for the injuries to include injury to the brain.
In some lethal cases, which are seldom, internal bleeding in the head after an examination has been found, although no external injuries are apparent. A woman is more likely to suffer a whiplash type injury than a man. This may be in part that the man’s neck is stronger.
You can suffer whiplash from doing more than having an accident in a car. Sports, skiing, and airplane accidents are some more causes. The rear end auto accident is the most common. It is not caused by getting hit in the rear in an auto accident; it is caused by your body getting trust forward and then getting slammed back into
How to treat Whiplash after a Car Accident
Whiplash generally happens in a car accident. It’s common for people to seek treatment at the local ER or urgent care clinic. Follow up care is recommended by an experienced accident doctor. Most ER and urgent care physicians will not do a thorough exam and usually send you home with just painkillers and muscle relaxers. Most under the care of an accident doctor with whiplash recover in two or three months. Fewer people may continue to have pain for several months or longer after the injury occurred.
Whiplash injuries sustained in auto accident can lead to more serious conditions including:
- Pinched nerves
- Nerve damage
- Damaged blood vessels
- Ruptured ligaments
- Fractures in the spine
- Spine joint injuries
Symptoms of a whiplash injury may not be obvious at the time of the car accident. Sometimes symptoms will not show up for days. The Accident victim will suffer a stiff neck, and may have shooting pain through the shoulders and neck area. Pain may radiate in the arms and fingers. This may be due to herniation of the cervical disc pressing on the nerve roots. At times this pain may be severe to moderate. Symptoms also may cause pain in the neck and shoulder area, which may subside and then become more painful.
The most common whiplash symptom is neck pain of stiffness in the neck. This can occur right after a car accident or may take a few days to weeks to set in. You need to get to an auto accident injury doctor as quickly as you can to delay the onset of pain that is surely to come from whiplash
Other symptoms may include:
- Pain in the Shoulders and Arms
- Altered sensation such as pins and needles or numbness
- Visual and auditory symptoms
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Concentration difficulties
Symptoms may include pain in the lower neck
Neck pain will be caused by swelling and tenderness. You might experience muscle spasms on the sides or back of your neck. Whiplash Symptoms might also include stiffness of the neck. The movement of your neck will be restricted.
Some more less common symptoms
Less common whiplash symptoms may be memory loss, loss of concentration or a reduction in mental awareness. You should consult a doctor immediately following a whiplash injury. Seeing a doctor after you have been involved in a car accident an exhibit these symptoms immediately may prevent the chances of a long recovery.
An accident victim should seek out medical treatment immediately if they feel pain at the scene of the car accident. If no pain is felt, one should still see a doctor just to make sure that there are no hidden injuries. Even bruising could lead to more extensive injuries. An accident doctor can determine the extent of your injuries and create a program for which to heal the body.
A doctor may recommend taking over the counter mild pain relievers or ibuprofen to aid in reduction of swelling and reduce the pressure. An accident doctor will do X-rays, but may order an MRI, or a CT scan to properly determine the extent of your injuries. A Whiplash doctor’s goal in treatment of whiplash is to reduce the pain associated with it.
Accident doctors want to restore function to the neck, back and shoulders. Proper healing occurs when pain is minimized. You should get plenty of rest and stay hydrated throughout the healing process.
Foam collars were once used quite often for injuries resulting from auto accidents. They are usually not recommended anymore. Foam collars immobilize the neck. When you immobilize the neck it can lead to decreased muscle and strength in the neck, it can also impair the recovery process. Wearing a foam collar temporally and not for extended periods of time could help you sleep better with a whiplash injury.
How long will it take me to recover?
Recovering from the symptoms of whiplash could take weeks, or maybe months. Seeing a doctor immediately following your accident improves your recovery time. Your recovery time might be shorter if you are younger. Studies have proven that the mental state of the victim has an impact on recovering from whiplash.
Modern day therapy includes physiotherapy, exercise, and chiropractic therapy, which has been found to be very effective in recovering from symptoms.
How quickly someone recovers from whiplash depends on a variety of factors. Your accident doctor is best to determine this since it’s usually on a case by case basis. Physical condition, age, extent of injury all plays a role in the recovery process.
This information is just general information, and should not be taken as a guide for any one person’s Injury