What You Should Know About Whiplash

Whiplash is a complex accident injury that may lead to chronic neck pain and other debilitating symptoms. It affects the soft tissues in the neck, along with the cervical spine. Whiplash can develop after a patient has sustained a traumatic injury, such as injuries in a car accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should make an appointment with a chiropractor in San Jose as soon as possible to avoid delaying your healing.

neck pain

Causes

Whiplash most often affects car accident victims, especially those who were involved in rear-end accidents. When a rear car strikes the forward car, the force of the impact causes the head to jerk forward and backward very quickly and forcefully. The abrupt change in direction of the head causes the hyperextension of the soft tissues of the neck, such as the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. The spine itself may also be affected. In addition to car accidents, whiplash may develop because of forceful contact during sports.

Symptoms

Chiropractors often work with whiplash patients who suffer from pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and tenderness of the neck. Headaches are common and typically begin in the base of the skull. Some patients may also suffer from dizziness, sensitivity to light, fatigue, blurry vision, tinnitus, and sleep disturbances. Long after the car accident, whiplash may involve memory and concentration problems, irritability, and depression. Patients often report a delayed onset of symptoms. They may not even realize they’ve suffered neck damage until one or two days after the crash.

Treatments

Non-invasive chiropractic treatments can be very effective for relieving whiplash symptoms and accelerating the healing process. Your chiropractor may recommend that you apply a cold pack to your neck for about 20 minutes several times daily for the first couple of days. Once the swelling has subsided, you can switch to heat therapy. Moist heat therapy is ideal. This will increase blood flow to the neck tissues, which provides the area with oxygen and nutrients. The heat should also ease the muscle tension and stiffness in your neck, which can improve your range of motion. For rapid relief of your symptoms, your chiropractor may recommend spinal manipulation, trigger point therapy, therapeutic massage, and ultrasound therapy.