Do you think you have whiplash?
So, just what is whiplash?
Many people have heard of whiplash but aren’t quite sure what it is. Whiplash is a strain of the neck usually caused by a forceful back and forth movement of the head that often happens in car wrecks when someone is hit from behind.
Your head weighs about fifteen pounds so any sudden motion of the head can put tremendous strain on the neck. This can result is stretching of the muscles and ligaments of the neck causing pain, stiffness and frequently headaches as well.
What does a whiplash injury feel like?
People often complain of stiffness and pain in the neck often spreading to the shoulders. The ability to turn your head can be limited due to pain and spasm of the neck muscles. Often people have headaches starting at the base of their skull going up the back of their head.
How do you know if I have whiplash?
Seeing a medical doctor is important as neck injuries other than whiplash can be severe. Your doctor may recommend testing such as MRI scans to make sure you do not have a more serious condition. Without testing such as MRI scans, it is difficult to determine if there are more severe injuries such as ruptured disks, pinched nerves, or spinal cord injuries.
What is the treatment for whiplash?
Treatment of whiplash is like treating other muscle and ligament injuries such as a hamstring strain. Using heat and ice to control muscle spasms is a good first step. Many people believe you should not use ice after the first 24 hours following an injury. My opinion is that ice is good anytime and every time you have an injury. Heat is always good as well but never go to sleep on an electric heating pad as this can lead to serious burns.
Your doctor may prescribe additional, non habit-forming medicines to control the headaches and muscle spasms.
I usually recommend physical therapy to manage soft tissue injuries such as neck and back injuries. Physical therapy is available on -site where I practice. This enables me to monitor your progress more closely. Usually therapy last for 4- 6 weeks following your whiplash injuries. Most people are sore after their first treatments with physical therapy, but this will get better! If your condition does not improve, we can refer you to another specialist provider to review your case.
Make an appointment to see us so we can get you better!