Whiplash is a medical condition that is actually quite common. Chances are, you've experienced it at one time in your life, even if it were only a mild case. It can occur from someone suddenly and unexpectedly pushing you hard from behind. Or, as is most often the case, it happens from someone hitting your car from behind. Regardless of the cause or the severity, it can be painful.
Although there is pain and discomfort associated with whiplash, it is not life-threatening. However, some of the pain can linger for years. That's why it is important see a pain specialist as soon as you are injured.
What Exactly Is Whiplash?
When a person is struck from behind by another automobile, it causes the seat to push the torso and body in a forward motion. Since the head and neck are not supported, they hyper extend backwards. Once the initial impact is over, the neck and head recover and are then thrown into a hyperflexed position.
Simply put, whiplash occurs when the lower neck bones are hyperextended in one direction while the upper neck bones are hyperextended in the opposite direction. This causes the neck to form an unnatural neck curve. This irregular curvature causes muscles, ligaments, tissue and nerves to become damaged. An examination and x-rays can verify the condition.
Symptoms Of Whiplash
Whiplash can affect many different areas of the body. The individual can experience dizziness, a ringing of the ears and complications with their vision. Fatigue is also common. Pain can be found in the jaw, neck, shoulder, upper back and arms. There can also be stiffness in the neck and shoulders. Arm strength can diminish, as well and headaches are quite common.
Over time, symptoms can expand to include depression and anxiety. Frustration can result from the aggravation of being in constant pain and not being able to find relief. The individual will likely have trouble sleeping, too.
What Can Be Done To Help
Although the usual initial course of action involves the use of a cervical collar to immobilize the neck, this should only be used temporarily as prolonged use can actually extend the healing time.
A pain specialist can provide you with exercises that are designed to strengthen and rehabilitate the injured area. Bringing the neck back to it's intended level of curvature is also important. A chiropractor can work with you to reposition the neck into the correct alignment. Following a proper level of treatment, it is quite possible to obtain a full recover