Collisions that occur during sporting events, such as slips, falls, or automobile crashes — also referred to as accident injuries— can all have a damaging effect on your neck and back. Injuries to the neck caused by the sudden movement of the head backward, forward, or sideways is commonly referred to as “whiplash”. Whiplash is a sprain or strain of your neck muscles caused by the abrupt jerking motion of the head — which typically occurs in car accidents.
When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth — an acceleration-rapid deceleration — beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments supporting the head and spine can be stretched or torn. The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear, or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can contribute to headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulders, as well as the arms and hands. Whiplash can also significantly reduce the ability to turn and bend your body and initiate lower back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear until weeks or even months later. Some symptoms of whiplash are: neck pain and stiffness, headaches, pain in the shoulder or between shoulder blades, low back pain, pain or numbness in arm or hand, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or remembering, and irritability, sleep problems, or fatigue. While whiplash is not uncommon in collision incidents, more serious traumatic brain injury can be causing some of the symptoms — it is always best to consult a medical professional to rule out any damage.
In most cases, injuries that result in soft-tissue damage in the neck cannot be easily visualized on an x-ray, unless the spinal column was affected. Special imaging such as computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be performed to detect damage to the soft tissues — muscles, tendons, and ligaments — and discs.
Historically, whiplash injuries were treated with a cervical spine collar (c-collar) to immobilize the neck movement. However, recent evidence-based practice indicates that early movement is key. For the first 24 hours, aggressive ice treatment is recommended, followed by gentle movement. Pain relief medications may be prescribed along with physical therapy or massage.
At the Injury Center of the Glades, our approach to auto injuries that result in neck pain is to use specific chiropractic adjustments to help normalize spinal function. After performing a thorough case history and examination, Dr. Cohen will recommend a series of visits for whiplash treatment to help restore proper motion and position of spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimizing.
Consult Dr. Cohen at Glades Injury Center before depending on addictive pain medication, enduring constant whiplash-related headaches, or submitting to surgery. Dr. Cohen and his team take your auto injury seriously because we know the devastating long-term effects of improper treatment. Don’t suffer with neck pain related to whiplash injury. Schedule your free consultation today — we will even pick you up!