Few injuries are quite as sudden as whiplash. That’s probably because whiplash is a violent, unexpected motion. As your head jerks in the shape of a whip, your joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerves move with it. With so many different parts of your body under undue force, there’s a high risk for injury.
The symptoms of whiplash, however, are often the opposite of the event that causes them. It can take days or even weeks to feel the full impact of the injury, and symptoms can last for years. While the injury may feel mild initially, it can be a source of long-term pain and discomfort. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you feel symptoms.
Do you think you may be suffering from whiplash? You don’t have to go through extended discomfort and pain. At Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center, we can help you get back to feeling like yourself. With three doctors and a highly trained staff, we can provide expert care that will help you leave your whiplash in the past.
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck. It’s also sometimes referred to as a neck strain or neck sprain, but those terms may include other injuries. The injury is most commonly caused by a rear-end car accident, but it may also result from a sports accident, physical abuse, or other sudden trauma.
In some cases, whiplash symptoms can take days to develop. However, most people will feel the effects of the injury in the first 24 hours. Symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
In addition to physical symptoms, some patients may also experience mental and emotional symptoms, such as:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
To diagnose whiplash, your Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and the event that caused the injury. They will also examine your head, neck, and arms and will test your range of motion. If a whiplash diagnosis is not conclusive, you may need an MRI or X-ray to rule out other possible injuries. These tests could also be used to determine if your discs, muscles, or ligaments suffered serious damage from the injury.
In the past, a cervical collar, also called a neck brace, was used as the top treatment for whiplash. Now, gentle active movement is favored over the immobilization of the collar. Exercise and physical therapy are often the key to restoring smooth, nonpainful movement. It’s important to focus on small, incremental improvements as you restore full motion. Your Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center may also recommend any of the following:
- Pain injections
- Epidural nerve blocks
- Facet block injections
- Acupuncture or massage
- Home care, such as hot or cold packs
In mild cases, a regimen of over-the-counter pain killers may be the best course of treatment.
If you think you have whiplash, don’t hesitate to see us at Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center. Book an appointment online or over the phone today.