Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to your neck. It is caused by your neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa. Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents. However, whiplash can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse, and other types of traumas, such as a fall.
What is the cause and mechanism of a Whiplash Injury
The head’s sudden jerking action pulls muscles and ligaments beyond the limit of the range of motion, causing fibers to tear. Torn fibers in a muscle or tendon are called a strain, whereas in a ligament it is called a sprain. Whiplash often involves both. Extreme cases may involve fractured or dislocated bones, as well.
Signs and symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
Symptoms of whiplash usually become apparent within the first 24 hours after the incident, but typically within the first six to 12 hours. Symptoms can often continue to get worse days after the injury.
Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches that usually start at the base of the skull. Other symptoms include:
- Pain that hurts more with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulder, or arms
How to diagnosed Whiplash Injury
One must take a complete medical history and physical exam. Tests for whiplash may include the following;
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Treatment of Whiplash Injury
In any whiplash injury, the main goal of therapy is to have adequate pain relief and restore the movements of the neck.
The following are the modalities of treatment used to achieve this goal;
- Prescription medications
- Muscle relaxants.
- Trigger Point Injections.
- Foam Collars
Soft foam cervical collars were once commonly used for whiplash injuries to hold the neck and head still. However, studies have shown that keeping the neck still for long periods of time can decrease muscle strength and interfere with recovery.
Still, the use of a collar to limit movement may help reduce pain soon after your injury and may help you sleep at night.
If you are facing a neck pain/whiplash injury issue that you wish to resolve, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedic Centre. Book a consultation session with us if you have any questions for our doctor.