What You Need to Know About Whiplash
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury that most people associate with car accidents; however, you can get whiplash in any situation where you are forced to stop abruptly (sport accidents like skiing, cycling accidents, or other trauma). It’s called whiplash because the back and forth movement somewhat resembles the “crack” of a whip. The spine (usually the head and neck) is forced in one direction very quickly and rebounds in the other direction. Whiplash can happen in a front to back motion or a side to side motion to the neck.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Once you recover from the shock of the whiplash, the pain will start to set in, usually 24-48 hours after the accident. Unfortunately, like other sprains, whiplash can often become worse before it gets better. Common whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness caused by sprains and strains of the muscles and ligaments of the neck
- Numbness and tingling between the shoulder blades, arms , and/or fingers.
- Hearing loss
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue
Another major effect of whiplash is decreased or even reversed lordosis (reversed curve) of the neck. If your neck curve already started out straight (which many of us have from daily repetitive stress like looking down at our phones - see my article on text neck here to learn more), then the whiplash injury can worsen your symptoms and cause chronic pain down the line if you don’t seek treatment for the abnormal curve. Research has shown that patients who experience chronic pain from whiplash and already had straightened neck curves to begin with, got even worse following the whiplash In fact, the average patient will lose 10 degrees of their cervical lordosis, develop a mid-cervical kyphosis, and develop forward head posture as a result of the car accident. This abnormal position of the neck will lead to symptoms like neck pain and headaches and will cause the spine to generate at a faster pace (arthritis) than if it was in a normal curve.
What to do if You’ve Sustained a Whiplash Injury
If you have been in a car accident, even a minor one, see a Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) chiropractor (like Dr. Finnegan) right away, even if you don’t feel any pain. Loss of curve in your neck will only lead to pain and dysfunction over time, so addressing this injury quickly can mean a faster recovery time and less health problems in the future. Corrective care methods using CBP is the only true evidence based methods that have been shown to statistically and clinically improve the amount of cervical lordosis without the use of surgery. Improving the cervical lordosis leads to better outcomes regarding pain and function in the future. Your spine ages better in a normal curve.
You can also ice your neck to reduce the inflammation caused by the whiplash. Take it easy - don’t put your body under strain as you want your body to focus on the areas in need of recovery first.
Are you suffering from whiplash related symptoms? Call right away for an appointment. We can help your immediate symptoms of pain and also help your neck recover in a much healthier position for your future. Call us at 510-922-1579 or text us at 510-692-9948 to set up your appointment.
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