What is a Whiplash?
A Whiplash is the general term for a sprain / strain on the neck joints and muscles due to hyper-extension or hyper-flexion, usually incurred in a car accident.
This is not limited to a car accident. It can occur in different situations, where a comparable force is exerted on the body. This is the same way that a tennis arm is by no means limited to tennis alone.
In most cases, whiplash injuries are limited to the soft tissues of the neck, shoulders, and above the back. This concerns the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and joint capsules. But in more serious cases, bone damage in the form of a kind of fracture to a vertebra can also occur.
Whiplash sustained in a car accident
Usually damage to the body occurs when a vehicle is brought to an abrupt stop (by accident) or when a stationary vehicle is hit from behind.
When a vehicle stops abruptly in a typical rear collision, the human body will be stopped by, for example, a seat belt and / or air bag. These resources save lives and are very effective. However, the head will be pulled forward and back like a whip. The natural reflexes and the strength of the muscles in the neck are overloaded, causing damage. The human body is simply not designed to withstand the forces that stop a car at high speeds.
Various studies have shown that a whiplash-type injury can already be sustained at speeds of 20 km per hour! This is aggravated when the occupant is unaware of the impending collision and has no chance to brace himself.
Symptoms of a whiplash
The typical symptoms of whiplash are usually pain and stiffness on the neck and a reduced range of motion. The earlier these symptoms occur, the worse the injury. People with whiplash usually find that they have trouble lifting their head off the pillow the next morning, for example.
These are often associated with headaches and in severe cases with arm pain. This is caused by a damaged nerve and / or a muscle in spasm (increased muscle tone).
Some patients also complain of chest and / or shoulder pain where the seat belt has caused bruising. The upper back (thoracic spine) can also be affected and feels “tight”.
Typical whiplash symptoms:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Pain and / or numbness in the arm and / or hand
- Ringing in the ears or blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating and / or remembering
- Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue
How long does a whiplash take??
This is one of those questions that are difficult to answer. It can range from a few days from mild neck pain to permanent disability, depending on the severity and frequency of the injury and / or whether you sought help in time.
Treatment of a whiplash
In severe cases, treatment initially consists of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, ice packs and often a soft collar to stabilize the cervical spine for the first ten days.
If symptoms include marked instability and / or arm pain, an X-ray or MRI may be indicated to rule out serious matters such as dislocation and / or fracture.
In mild to moderate cases, chiropractic treatment consisting of corrective spinal manipulations can be started one week after the accident. This allows you to heal faster and treat your pain more effectively. With techniques like gentle manipulation and deep tissue massage, your neck can begin to heal almost immediately.
Would you like to know more about chiropractic? Then go to our website www.americanchiro.nl or contact us by email and / or telephone.