WHIPLASH IS THE TERM THAT IS USED FOR NECK INJURY CAUSED BY THE HEAD WHIPPING BACK AND FORTH.
CAUSES OF WHIPLASH
Automobile accidents or car crashes are the most common causes. Sports injuries or falls also cause whiplash. When you are in an accident or crash, your head whips back and forth and side to side. This abrupt movement causes injuries to the neck tissues. The muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves are over stretched. The spinal joints are compressed. The discs can be damaged. Because the whipping motion of the head causes the injuries, the term “whiplash” is used.
Low speed crashes often cause whiplash. This is because the abrupt and sudden forces of the crash cause the injury, not the speed of the vehicle. In low speed collisions, the head flies back toward the headrest, sometimes striking it. Then the head whips forward, and exceeds the normal range of movement. It is these sudden movements that cause the injuries. Car crashes at parking lot speeds have all of the forces necessary to cause injury. We have even seen whiplash in someone who bounced around after striking railroad tracks.
SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH
You may not have any pain or other symptoms of immediately. It can take days to weeks before you notice that something is wrong in your neck. Your neck may feel uncomfortable or stiff while turning the head to one side. There is often soreness or aching at the back of the neck or head. You may have pain or stiffness first thing in the morning. Gradually, there will be pain and stiffness throughout the day. Whiplash often causes headaches, usually in the back or sides of the head.
TREATMENT OF WHIPLASH
It is vitally important that you treat whiplash effectively in order to avoid future problems. If left untreated, the body will gradually limit neck movement. This is because the injured tissues will shorten and stiffen. This causes permanent problems of neck pain and stiffness, which leads to spinal arthritis. The most effective treatment is gentle mobilizing spinal manipulation. In our office, we also use Microcurrent Electrotherapy which aids the healing process. We add specific stretches for the neck and we teach you how to perform them effectively. Then we gradually add strengthening exercises for the supportive muscles of the neck. In this manner, we ensure that you have a well healed and fully functional neck without any long term effects.