All about Whiplash: Causes, diagnosis, treatments, complications

Have you recently been injured in a car accident? Do you suffer from frequent neck pain? Are you wondering what the problem might be? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may have whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash can be painful, sometimes difficult to diagnose, and complications may arise from even a simple case. So what exactly is whiplash, what causes it, what are the symptoms, how is it diagnosed, how is it treated, and what are the various complications that may come out of whiplash? Your experienced Burnaby chiropractor is going to answer all of these questions in this post.

What is whiplash?

Also known as neck sprain or neck strain, whiplash is injury to the neck, characterized by a series of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. If you have suffered whiplash, you may have damaged the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots in your neck and upper back.

What causes whiplash?

whiplash injury

An abrupt forward and/or backward jerking of the head causes whiplash. The most common reason for whiplash is a car accident.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash may not be seen right away and may even be delayed 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. Despite the delay, people who are victimized by whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms:

• Neck pain and stiffness
• Headaches
• Shoulder pain and pain in between the shoulder blades
• Low back pain
• Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
• Dizziness
• Difficulty with memory and concentration
• Difficulty sleeping
• Fatigue
• Irritability

How is whiplash diagnosed?

Frequently, whiplash causes injuries to the soft tissues such as discs, muscles, and ligaments, and cannot be seen on standard x-rays. CT scans or MRI’s may be needed in order to diagnose damage to the discs, muscles, and ligaments that are causing the symptoms of whiplash. Visit a general practitioner or your local chiropractor if you are suffering from what you think, could be symptoms of whiplash.

How is whiplash treated?

Unfortunately, the scientific community has not found any one treatment to be effective for whiplash, but pain relief medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen, coupled with gentle stretching and exercise, physical therapy, massage, heat, ice, injections, and ultrasound, has been found to be a winning combination. The original treatment for whiplash included immobilization with a cervical collar. These days, your doctor will most likely encourage early movement.

What are the complications of whiplash?

Luckily, in most cases, the injuries from whiplash will heal over time without any permanent damage. However, sometimes the pain can be prolonged and severe, and may even restrict you from living your everyday life. Whiplash that lasts for several months may be linked to the development of anxiety and depression. Severe and long-lasting pain may also make it difficult to enjoy your daily activities, and make it difficult to work.

If you are experiencing neck pain and want fast relief, visit your local chiropractor for great advice and even better treatment so that you can get back to living the life you want, fast!

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