Each year, more than two million Americans experience whiplash.
Whiplash occurs when the head suddenly snaps forward and backward, a motion similar to the cracking of a whip that overstretches the joints, muscles, and ligaments of the neck and upper back.
While you probably have heard of whiplash, there are some little-known facts about the condition that you should know.
Below we will talk about a few interesting facts you may not have known about this well-known injury.
It Occurs During Minor Accidents
It does not cause much speed to produce a whiplash injury.
Even low-speed collisions can cause enough force to overstretch your upper back, neck, and head.
Vehicles are designed with safety areas that are meant to crumble upon impact, absorbing the energy of the crash and reducing the sudden jerking motion.
When these areas fail to crumble, like when you see no damage after an accident, the force that was transferred to the occupants may have been even more severe then if damage to the vehicle was obvious.
You Don't Have To Be In A Car To Get Whiplash
While the most common cause of whiplash is front- or rear-impact car accidents, the injury can actually happen anytime.
Outside of your car, you can get whiplash from a fall or from high-impact sports, such as snowboarding, skiing, boxing, football, or gymnastics.
Pain Is Not The Only Symptom
Neck and shoulder pain is the most common symptom associated with whiplash injuries. However, it is still important to look for other symptoms.
Other symptoms of whiplash can include headaches, numbness/tingling in the arms, nausea, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, poor concentration, jaw pain, blurred vision, sleep loss, memory lapse, and even ringing in the ears among others.
No matter how minor or severe the symptoms are, it is always a good idea to get evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Symptoms Should Not Be Shrugged Off
Although neck pain is common immediately after a whiplash injury, some people don’t experience pain until a few hours, days, or even weeks later.
Regardless of when your pain starts, you should never ignore it.
Neck pain following even minor mishaps should be evaluated at your doctor’s office or the emergency room.
Imaging tests, such as x-rays, are often important during an initial exam to make sure there are no fractures or dislocations.
In most cases, the pain will fade on its own within a month.
If your pain persists or worsens, or if you develop other symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, shoulder pain, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeping, or swallowing, you should see your doctor for further evaluation.
Symptoms May Take A While To Manifest
Many people believe all injuries will be immediately apparent, but many whiplash symptoms will not develop for days, weeks, or even months.
The full effects of an injury can take ten days to ten weeks to develop and even longer to heal.
For nerve and tissue damage, it can take months to complete recovery, so it’s essential to be evaluated by a healthcare professional after a suspected whiplash injury.
This will help prevent long-term damage that can occur when ignoring these signs.
Rest Is Not Good For Whiplash
When it comes to whiplash, rest does not equal recovery.
You may not want to move around after a whiplash injury for fear of making the pain worse.
But resting for more than a few days can cause the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back to get stiff and weak, prolonging the pain.
To keep your neck healthy and flexible, return to regular activity as soon as your doctor says it’s OK.
Even if you have to ease into activity slowly, don’t let pain keep you from getting on with your life.
X-rays Can Show Soft Tissue Damage
X-rays aren’t just important to show bone injuries.
They can also be used to show soft tissue injuries that a radiologist may not see or may mark as normal.
A chiropractor, however, will take a special kind of X-Ray called stress or flexion-extension X-Ray.
These x-rays will help them evaluate how bones fit together and whether there has been any damage to the ligaments or connective tissue.
Aging Increases Your Risk of Whiplash
Older people, and those who already have neck problems such as arthritis, may experience a more severe case of whiplash than a younger person.
As people get older, their movement is more limited, their muscles lose flexibility and strength, and their discs and ligaments are not as stretchy.
So when their neck is whipped back and forth, there’s more potential for damage.
You Should Get Medical Attention Right Away
It may take months for the full extent of injuries to show up, but you should see a doctor right away.
The longer whiplash is left untreated, the longer and less likely it is to be resolved.
Studies show that pain that persists longer then six months has much lower odds of total resolution.
Often if you receive prompt treatment, neck pain will gradually improve in the first month or two, and persistent symptoms will be easier to treat in the future.
Chiropractic Care Is Perfect For Whiplash
By using several different treatment techniques, your chiropractor can assist in relieving pain and encouraging healing in the areas affected by whiplash.
And, their methods are all-natural and free from the adverse side effects you get with pain medications.
If you’re suffering from whiplash, visit the expert chiropractors at the Advanced Injury Care Clinic by clicking the button below.