Wham! You have just been rear-ended by another car. Your neck and shoulders are thrust quickly forward and then back probably bouncing off the headrest in the process. You might not feel it immediately but in a few short hours, your neck begins to ache. You have most likely experienced a soft tissue injury referred to as whiplash.
The most common injury suffered in a rear-end car collision is whiplash. It is a soft tissue injury to the neck that can irritate and pain the person who sustained it. There are treatments for this injury caused by rapid acceleration or deceleration resulting in a snapping of the neck. Let us now learn more about the ailment and the treatments available.
Whiplash is commonly found to be a sprain or strain of the neck. Whiplash is frequently caused by a motor vehicle accident, especially of the rear-end sort. Around twenty percent of people involved in rear-end collisions complain of an injury or pain in their neck region. The injury is characterized by an assortment of symptoms that show up after the incident that caused harm to the neck. Most people can recover with minimum problems in a short period or time while a few develop persistent pain and chronic conditions.
The symptoms of whiplash can appear immediately or show up several days later and include:
- Neck pain and/or Neck stiffness
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Back pain
- Ringing in the ears or blurred vision
- Abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling numbness
- In severe cases, a victim can experience cognitive difficulties such as:
- Memory loss
- Concentration impairment by the way of focusing or remembering
- Sleep Disturbances
The prognosis for those affected with whiplash is generally good. For the majority of people who suffer from this ailment the head and neck pain clears up within a few days or even weeks. Inside of three months, they are likely to recover from the injury; however, a certain percentage continues to have residual headaches or neck pain. For a small minority though the injuries continue to persist. This is more likely for those with the more severe symptoms from the onset. For these few individuals whiplash can even become a permanent disability.
If you experience the symptoms of whiplash after a car collision, seek medical attention because there is treatment. Treatment can vary depending on your attending physician. If you are found to have a slight case of whiplash, your treatment might include nothing more than Tylenol and application of heat or ice to the sore spots followed by gentle movement of the affected area. The usual treatments beyond this include pain medication, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and/or anti-depressants.
The second phase of treatment might include physical therapy, massage therapy, and/or traction. This will most likely prescribed by a physical therapist who will teach the patient range of motion exercises to perform on a regular basis. For a severe neck pain, the victim might wear an immobilization cervical collar as well. This soft collar is typically used intermittently for a short period.
With the correct treatment, in time the pains and difficulties caused by a whiplash should subside. Regular cardiovascular exercise or isometric exercises have been known to improve the condition of those affected by this soft tissue injury. If the pain continues and becomes chronic, other options such as surgery might be explored. Do not allow that rear-end collision to continue to be a pain in your neck.