Dealing With Whiplash
Your muscles and ligaments provide stability for your rather flexible neck. Similar to how a rope frays when it is stretched past its breaking point, "whiplash" refers to a condition in which these tissues are overstretched.
Up to 83% of people involved in car accidents sustain some form of a whiplash injury. The extent of your injury can be measured and viewed through several factors. Patients who are struck from behind in a rear-end collision will usually suffer the most significant injury.
Being struck by a larger or heavier vehicle can also greatly increase your risk. Your vehicle does not need to be visibly damaged in order for you to sustain an injury. In truth, the extent of the injuries you get has very little to do with the damage to your car. The majority of modern automobiles have shock-absorbing bumpers, which do their best to reduce damages to the car but offer little protection to the occupants in low-speed collisions. Significant symptoms frequently result from rear-end collisions at speeds under 5 mph.
Your risk of suffering a whiplash injury can be increased by improperly installed head restraints, wet or snowy roads, having your head rotated or stretched at the moment of impact, and being ignorant of the approaching collision.
As our bodies begin to grow older, our muscle tissues become less elastic, and our risk of injury increases. Females are on average more likely to be injured than males. People who have pre-existing arthritis are more likely to develop complaints.
Your front of your neck may first feel sore, but this should pass fast. Chronic whiplash concerns frequently involve nagging neck ache that gets worse when you move your head. Although it usually originates in the back of your neck, the pain can sometimes go to your shoulders or the area in between your shoulder blades.
Tension headaches will regularly accompany neck injuries. Dizziness and TMJ problems are possible. Symptoms may also increase slowly over time. Rest may relieve your symptoms for a period of time but often will also lead to stiffness. Be sure to inform us if you have any signs of a more serious injury, including a severe or "different" headache, loss of consciousness, confusion, or "fogginess," difficulty concentrating, dizziness, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, change in vision, nausea, vomiting, numbness or tingling in your arms or face, weakness or clumsiness in your arms and hands, decreased bowel or bladder control, or fever.
Sprain/strain injuries cause your normal and highly elastic tissue to be replaced with less elastic "scar tissue."
This process can lead to ongoing pain and even arthritis. Over half of those who are injured in an auto accident will have neck pain up to a year after their accident.
It's critical to seek treatment as soon as you are able. It is likely that if you are riding with others, they were hurt as well. Everyone would benefit from being evaluated as soon as possible.
Depending on the extent of your injury's damage, you might need to exercise caution when engaging in strenuous or taxing activities for a while. Pain is a common response to injury, and severely restricting your regular activities may cause your recovery to be delayed. As soon as your body permits, attempt to "act as normally" and get back to your regular daily activities.
You should also try to avoid wearing heavy headgear, like a hardhat or helmet, if possible. Cervical collars rarely help and should be avoided unless otherwise directed by a medical professional. You can try to apply ice for 10-15 minutes each hour for the first couple of days. Heat may be helpful thereafter. Ask your doctor for specific ice/heat recommendations. Some patients report some success in pain relief from sports creams.