Whiplash Q & A
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a type of neck strain that happens when your head suddenly jerks back and forth, named so because the motion is like the cracking of a whip. The rapid movement of your head stretches the soft tissues of your neck beyond their normal limit, causing the muscles and tendons to tear.
How does whiplash happen?
Whiplash occurs most frequently during rear-end car collisions, but anything that causes your head to suddenly moves backward and then forward can lead to whiplash, such as:
- Car accidents
- Amusement park rides
- Injuries in contact sports, such as football and boxing
- Horseback riding
- Cycling accidents
- Blows to the head
- Physical abuse, like being forcefully shaken or punched
If you’ve experienced any of these injuries and are feeling persistent pain in your neck, you might be suffering from whiplash.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
The symptoms of whiplash typically appear within 34 hours of the inciting incident, but sometimes they can progress slowly, taking a few days to present themselves. If you’ve been in an accident that you think has left you susceptible to whiplash, it’s important to be aware of any physical changes that develop in your body in the weeks after the accident.
Symptoms can last for several weeks, and most commonly include:
- Neck pain, especially when moving your head side to side, back and forth, or when looking over your shoulders
- Stiffness and decreased range of motion in the neck
- Headaches that originate in the base of the skull and spread through the forehead
Some of the less common and more serious symptoms of whiplash are:
- Blurry vision
- Disturbed sleep
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
If the symptoms spread to your shoulders or arms, or if you begin to experience weakness or numbness in your arms, see a doctor immediately.
Call Prism Pain Management at (720) 307-7246.
What are the treatments for whiplash?
The treatments for whiplash depend on the severity of the condition. Some people can find relief with over-the-counter pain medications, while others may need more advanced solutions.
Physical therapy is typically prescribed in order to restore strength and flexibility to your neck, and to protect the muscles from further strain. Certain medications and injections can also be utilized to reduce pain, such as lidocaine.