Whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end car collisions, in which the impact suddenly forces the car occupants’ heads to “snap” back and forth. Other causes of whiplash include a sudden jerk of one or both arms, a violent blow to the head or chin, a reflex jerking of the head due to fright or a sudden loud noise, or any kind of fall that causes a forceful movement of the head and neck.
Anyone can be subjected to whiplash, even in a low-force car crash at speeds as low as 5 m.p.h.
Whiplash most commonly causes lingering (often serious) neck pain and stiffness, but there may also be back pain, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, numbness, and even dizziness. Whiplash symptoms may or may not appear right away. After a night’s rest or even longer, you will usually experience stiffness or soreness of the neck.
Often victims are stunned immediately after an accident and do not note any of the whiplash effects. It’s possible that old whiplash injuries can be the cause of many physical and psychological symptoms, even years after the accident, especially if a victim does not receive proper care quickly.
Your neck is made up of seven bones stacked on top of each other with a shock-absorbing disc between each level. Your neck is relatively flexible so it relies on your muscles and ligaments for support.“Whiplash” describes what happens when the soft tissues of your neck are stretched too hard or too far, much like a rope that frays when it is stretched beyond it’s capacity.
Symptoms may begin abruptly or have a delayed onset. Ongoing complaints often include dull neck pain that becomes sharper when you move your head. The pain is often centered in the back of your neck but can spread to your shoulders or between your shoulder blades. Tension headaches commonly accompany neck injuries. Dizziness and TMJ problems are possible. Symptoms may increase over time.
Getting you back to normal as soon as possible is our number one goal. To do that, we will likely recommend one or more of the following:
- Joint manipulation to gently restore movement to your neck.
- Therapy modalities to ease your muscle tightness, pain and swelling.
- Myofascial release to improve circulation and relieve pain.
- Therapeutic stretching to increase flexibility and ease pain.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Yockey as soon as possible and get the care you deserve.