Whiplash is a common injury, annually affecting about 2 million individuals within the U.S. Generally due to a car accident, whiplash also can be a consequence of falling, engaging in sports & being shaken or punched.
Whiplash may be the common term for neck damage or stress caused by hyperextension (see image below) and hyperflexion (see image below). It frequently does not cause immediate symptoms: over-time, it might produce actually. Since whiplash could cause long-lasting results to the back, it is vital that you see your physician if you have been injured, even if you don’t have pain.
The cervical spine (throat) is really a sophisticated structure consists of vertebrae (spinal bones), intervertebral disks (behave as shock absorbers), muscles, ligaments, and nerves. The throat is is flexible and will move it different guidelines (jerk, swivel) while supporting the total weight of the head. However, that mobility can make the throat at risk of injury. Throughout a whiplash event, your throat goes swiftly and vigorously backward and forward. Pain can continue despite the injury itself has healed.
Whiplash can result in reduced productivity, temporary impairment, and perhaps substantial medical expenses.
Not Just Pain In The Neck
A person with whiplash’s chief criticism is upper back pain or neck pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Pain within the arm and/or shoulder that may expand to the hand(s).
- Paresthesias (including numbness or tingling) and/or weakness that’ll expand into the hand(s).
You might possibly experience dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears, weakness, jaw pain, and blurred vision.
A Condition With An Impact
The most frequent cause of whiplash is definitely a car accident in which the person’s vehicle (often stopped) is rear-ended by another car or truck. Because of this, the neck’s bones are forced into a hyperextended position, while the upper vertebrae are hyperflexed, leading to an unusual S-shaped curve. This cycle typically damages the delicate tissues (structures, tendons, muscles) of the neck.
How Do I Realize I Have Whiplash?
Your doctor works a neurological and physical exam and carefully reviews your medical history. Because x rays don’t show injuries to delicate tissues, a CT (computerized tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) could be executed.
What Does Treatment Involve?
Treatment is determined by the extent and level of the whiplash, and factor is given to general health and your age. Initial therapy can include:
- Short term rest (a day or two)
- Ice, for first day or two; then alternate ice and temperature
- Gentle range-of-motion exercises
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (over-the-counter or prescription)
- Muscle relaxants
*When using ice, make certain the cool source is draped in a towel to safeguard your skin area. Don’t apply ice for longer than 15 minutes at a time.
If your pain does not disappear inside a reasonable timeframe, or when it is serious, your doctor may recommend trigger-point injections, physical treatment, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, and/or use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device.
Soft collars, although once trusted for whiplash, are not employed so frequently anymore, since by immobilizing the neck, the muscles can weaken and delay recovery.
Surgery is rarely warranted by whiplash. If your pain persists even after you’ve undergone nonsurgical treatment, your doctor might advise surgery, according to what structures have already been injured and how serious the harm is. It is vital that you understand the risks carried with surgery. Thus, you should have a thorough conversation with your doctor.
Whiplash. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/disorders-situations/whiplash/basics/meaning/con-20033090.
Whiplash. MedicineNet. / whiplash/article.htm Whiplash.
Whiplash Injury. Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/ healthlibrary/problems/adult/spine_shoulder_and_pelvis_disorders/whiplash_injury_85,p01388/.