Whiplash: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Whiplash is an injury that occurs when sudden force or movement strains your neck and spine. Depending on the severity, it can damage bone, muscle, ligaments, and nerves.

It most commonly occurs during automobile accidents, but can be a result of a sports injury, or physical abuse. Whiplash is usually treatable and short-lived, but can cause long-term pain and discomfort if not properly treated.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Symptoms of whiplash generally appear within 24 hours after the incident that caused the whiplash. The symptoms depend on how severely your next hyperextended or compressed. The greater the extension or compression, the more significant the injury.

Symptoms include:

  • Neck Pain and stiffness
  • Chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and head
  • Headaches, typically at the base of the skull
  • Blurred Vision
  • Problems with memory
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Inability to sleep well
  • Vision problems

Causes of Whiplash

Whiplash happens when the direction you are traveling suddenly changes. The unexpected motion causes your neck’s tendons and ligaments to stretch and tear.

Some of the more common activities that can lead to whiplash include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents, car collisions are the most common cause of whiplash.
  • Physical Abuse, such as being struck or shaken
  • Contact sports, including football, hockey, rugby, martial arts,
  • Horseback Riding
  • Gymnastics
  • Cycle collision and falls
  • Roller coasters

Even though these activities are the most common causes of whiplash, It is important to remember that whiplash can still occur in many other ways.

Treatments for Whiplash

Luckily whiplash is treatable. Since it is not cured directly, the goal of treatment is to allow the whiplash to heal as much as possible while minimizing symptoms.The time it takes to recover from whiplash depends on the treatment.

The most common treatments for whiplash include:

  • Rest
  • Exercises / Physical Therapy, to build strength and flexibility in your neck
  • Applying ice or heat to the injured area
  • Over the counter pain relievers. Prescription pain relievers for more severe injuries
  • Practicing good posture
  • Wearing a foam collar to keep your neck stable
  • Chiropractic Care, which may relieve tension in the neck muscles and help realign the spine.
  • Surgery

Reducing My Risk for Whiplash

It’s always best practice to reduce your risk of whiplash.

This may include:

  • Adjusting your vehicle seat
  • Wearing Your seatbelt properly
  • Driving safely
  • Play sports more safely
  • Talk to a healthcare provider prior to riding roller coasters

If you think you might be suffering from whiplash or want to learn more, please call us at 724-335-5210.