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WHAT IS WHIPLASH AND HOW CAN YOU TREAT ITS SYMPTOMS?

Neck and back pain can gradually develop over time or may come about as a result of an acute injury. Some injuries, however, may go unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months until the pain is felt. Whiplash is a common example of a neck injury that involves an accident followed by neck pain, often delayed but sometimes felt immediately.

What exactly is whiplash and can it be treated? Below we’ll go over whiplash and how to treat it as well as point out some of the potential complications involved with whiplash injuries.

WHAT IS WHIPLASH?

Whiplash is a type of injury that is often similar to other strains and sprains but is unique. Like the crack of a whip, a whiplash injury normally involves the powerful back-and-forth movement of the neck in a sudden jolt.

Most whiplash injuries can be attributed to car collisions, whereby the driver’s neck jolts backwards and forwards in a quick movement from the force of the collision. The most common type of collision that causes whiplash is a rear-ender, but it’s important to note that whiplash injuries can occur from many other types of collisions or even abrupt braking (e.g. in an emergency). Even slow speeds can result in whiplash injuries, such as hitting (or being hit) whilst in a car park or driveway.

It is also possible to experience whiplash from other types of forceful movement or impact, such as sporting injuries or from violence.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH?

There are many symptoms from whiplash, but first it is important to note one characteristic of many whiplash injuries: the symptoms may be felt immediately or they may not present themselves for days or weeks following the injury. In other words, you may feel completely fine for a while before experiencing sharp pain in the neck.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Little to no neck motion
  • Pain in the shoulders and/or arms
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Dizziness

HOW TO TREAT WHIPLASH

The good news, if one can call it that, in some instances the above symptoms of whiplash will go away on their own after perhaps a couple of weeks. What happens if it doesn’t? Is it dangerous to wait as the pain worsens?

If you’ve suffered an injury from a collision or from contact sports and believe you may have whiplash, it’s important to speak with a qualified professional to seek advice.

If the pain is severe or if you’re feeling numbness in your shoulders or arms, quite often the problem can persist for sometime if untreated. Everyone recovers at a different rate, depending on the severity of the injury as well as a host of other factors such as age, force of the injury, a history of neck and/or back pain, as well as having suffered previously from a whiplash injury. Don’t take your chances with your health and wellbeing and consult a professional if you’ve suffered from such an injury.

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