What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is another word for what some call a “neck strain.” It can happen whenever your head is suddenly thrust backward or forward with enough force to tear or stretch your neck’s tendons and muscles.
Most commonly, whiplash is the result of vehicle accidents due to the sudden stops that take place when cars come to a complete stop upon impact. But sports injuries often cause whiplash, as do any sort of blow to the upper part of the body that causes the head to jerk about quickly and forcefully.
If you take part in any contact sport, you’re susceptible to a neck strain. Technically speaking, you have whiplash whenever you suffer an injury that results in damage to the tendons or the muscles in or around the neck area. Tendons play a central role in the integrity of your muscular system because they connect bones to muscle tissue.
Sometimes people have damage to their ligaments, the tissue in between bones that connects them. You’ll sometimes hear a chiropractor refer to this situation as a neck “sprain” rather than a strain. In any case, the distinction is a small one and is still categorized as a whiplash injury.
When you suffer a whiplash injury, you might not notice any symptoms at all for several days. Keep in mind, however, that untreated whiplash, even apparently mild injuries that show no symptoms, you might experience chronic pain if you don’t receive treatment. In the first few days after a whiplash injury, there are dozens of different symptoms you might notice, including the following:
- Varying degrees of neck pain that can radiate through the shoulders and into the upper back region
- A lightheaded feeling, dizziness, and a general impression that you might lose consciousness
- Pain near the skull base
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Hearing any kind of unusual noises like static clicking, humming, bells, or hissing
- Limited range of motion, muscle stiffness, and even swelling, accompanied by pain
- Increasing pain when you attempt to move your neck
- Stiffness or general pain anywhere in the neck area
- The inability to move your neck in a normal range of motion
- Soreness or tenderness in the arms, back, or shoulder area
- Arm numbness or a general tingling sensation in the arms
- Problems with concentration
- Limited or blurred vision
- General fatigue or sleepiness
- The inability to sleep as you usually do
- Problems with your memory
- Depression, irritability, and other behavior changes
- Intermittent dizziness
The Telltale Signs of Untreated Whiplash
One of the unique aspects of soft tissue injuries is that the longer you delay getting treatment for them, the worse the pain becomes. That’s why chiropractors always warn their patients to get an exam after any car or sports accident in which the head experienced sudden movement. As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
Do you have any of the telltale signs of untreated whiplash? If so, don’t waste another minute wondering about your course of action: see a trained chiropractic physician as soon as possible. Here’s a short list of some of the most common symptoms of an untreated whiplash injury:
- Headaches:Neck injuries of any kind can lead to headaches. Some people with whiplash notice low-level tension headaches but others endure much more severe variations, including migraines, which can be debilitating.
- Ringing in the ears:This effect of untreated whiplash includes hearing any unusual sounds, like ringing or “radio static,” and can lead to a problem with sleep, concentration, and mental stability. Until the basic cause is treated, these annoying symptoms will only get worse in most cases.
- Dizziness: Dizziness can be extremely dangerous because it often leads to falls, which just compounds the problem. But in addition to dizziness, many people experience vertigo after a whiplash injury, or even have trouble with general balance. A related symptom in this grouping is nausea, a direct result of severe dizziness and an “unbalanced” feeling.
- Sleep disturbances:It’s common for anyone suffering from chronic pain to have trouble going to sleep. This problem is not confined to whiplash, but it’s very common for whiplash sufferers to develop severe exhaustion as a result of repeated nights with little or no sleep. The body essentially refuses to give you any rest until you deal with the problem.
- Mood changes: Another direct result of intense pain is behavioral. It only makes sense that people who are unable to sleep and suffering in multiple ways would become irritable. But when the whiplash-related pain gets to the point where you can’t even go about your regular daily life, it’s possible to become depressed and socially withdrawn. Some sufferers even have extreme difficulty dealing with others, working, or talking on the telephone.
- Decreased range of motion:This can be one of the most painful of all the symptoms of untreated whiplash injuries because the pain can be extreme. Typical cases involve total inability to move the neck, or the inability to move it without high levels of pain, Additionally, when you can’t or don’t want to move your injured neck, it often becomes stiff and the muscles are unable to heal. Then you end up with a neck that gets worse day by day, until you receive treatment.
Getting Help When You Need It
If you suspect that you might have encountered a whiplash injury, it’s imperative to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. At Delaware Integrative Medicine, our team of physicians can help you deal with the short-term and long-term effects of a whiplash injury. Most commonly, we see sufferers who have been in vehicle accidents, but we also treat sports-related whiplash as well. No matter what the cause, immediate examination, assessment, and treatment are of paramount importance.
Our chiropractors specialize in whiplash injuries and have many years of experience. You should never put off treatment when you’ve been injured because the effects can become much worse in a relatively short period of time. In some situations, the chiropractor will find nothing after an exam, so you’ll at least know you did the right thing by seeking help. At other times, the exam will reveal clear-cut whiplash injuries that need treatment.
The point of seeking treatment when you suspect whiplash is to make certain that you aren’t walking around with a serious medical condition that is only going to get worse. Our team at Delaware Integrative Medicine is ready to help you find out about your state of health and, if necessary, treat your whiplash injuries effectively and efficiently. We’ll give you a complete exam and diagnosis so you know exactly what the situation is.
Whether you’ve been in a vehicle accident, sustained a sports injury, or suffered any other kind of physical trauma to the upper part of your body, get the peace of mind you deserve by making an appointment with our office today by calling 302-258-8853.