Did you know that one million people in the United States suffer from whiplash pain every year? And of those cases, at least a quarter result in long-term chronic disorders. If you think you may have suffered from whiplash, here’s what you need to know:

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine (also known as the neck), that’s caused by fast, forceful, back and forth motion. Visualize the motion of a cracking whip, and you’ll understand what happens to the neck in whiplash cases. Structurally, damage to the discs and nerves, restricted or increased range of motion, and overstretching of the ligaments and tendons are just some of the things that can occur from whiplash. And these can cause so many long-term symptoms, like blurred vision, ringing in the ears, pain, headaches, and memory, concentration and sleep problems.

Various Injuries Could Give You Whiplash

Whiplash can happen while

  • Playing contact sports
  • Fighting 
  • Suffering physical abuse
  • Trip-and-fall situations
  • Car accidents

The most common way people get whiplash is in car accidents. In fact, whiplash is the most common injury suffered in crashes because it can occur at speeds as low as 5 mph! If you are involved in an auto accident and have neck pain, it’s safe to assume you have suffered whiplash, if not an even more serious injury.

How is whiplash diagnosed?

Whiplash is diagnosed after a thorough examination by your doctor. Because these are soft tissue injuries, whiplash can’t be seen on an X-ray, but CT scans and MRI’s can spot the injuries. These tests are not required for a diagnosis, however. Dr. Reza will perform an examination to determine what kind of injury you have sustained. Regardless it’s always best to be thoroughly checked when you suffer a neck or head injury. 

Symptoms Of Whiplash

The common symptoms of whiplash include pain and stiffness of the neck and decreased mobility. So if you feel like you can’t really move your neck and the pain worsens when you try, you might have whiplash. Another symptom is headaches, specifically ones where the pain originates from the base of the skull. The head and neck, however, aren’t the only areas that can be affected by whiplash. Tenderness in the shoulders and arms could also be a sign you suffered whiplash during your injury. 

Some of the less common symptoms include,

Will it go away on its own?

The symptoms of whiplash can go away on their own, but can be indicative of more serious neck and back injuries, which is why it’s so important to seek care. It’s also impossible to predict how long it will take to recover from your particular case of whiplash. Some patients experience side effects for the rest of their lives. Left untreated, whiplash can not only interfere with your life through pain and loss of motion, but can lead to degenerative disc diseases and vertebrae misalignment.

How is whiplash treated?

Chiropractic care can restore range of motion, promote proper nervous system function, and alleviate pain associated with whiplash. It also promotes proper lymphatic flow (which is crucial for the healing process).  Stretching, corrective exercises, and Dr. Reza’s treatments such as the McKenzie method, are also ways of treating this condition. Traditional chiropractic care facilitates the healing process and provides pain relief without the use of medications.

Whiplash doesn’t have to be debilitating. It only takes minimal intervention from a chiropractor for your body to begin the healing process, but seeking treatment early is important. Contact us at Reza Chiropractic, online or by phone to (406) 920-1807 to start feeling better today!