Neck pain and injuries can be a fairly common ailment in many people. One of the most common neck injuries is whiplash. You might have heard that term before but maybe you don't know what whiplash is. So, let's talk about it. What is whiplash?
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash happens when sudden acceleration-deceleration force causes the neck to forcefully whip back and forth. This causes an unpleasant strain on the muscles and ligaments in your neck. It can injure the bones in the spine and even dislocate disks between the bones.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries following car accidents. That isn't the only way a person might get whiplash though. There are other ways that you could end up getting it. You could get whiplash from a sports injury, a bad fall, or after experiencing some sort of trauma. Thankfully, in most cases, it isn't too severe. The majority of people recover from whiplash within just a few weeks, following a proper treatment plan and care.
Symptoms of Whiplash
So, how do you know if you might have whiplash or not? You may experience symptoms directly after an injury or it might take a couple of days before you begin to feel the effects.
The most common symptoms are:
- Neck soreness and stiffness
- Pain when you try to move your neck
- Loss of range of motion in your neck
- Tenderness in your shoulders and arms
- Tingling or numbness in your arms,
There are other symptoms though that you might also experience if the whiplash is more severe. These symptoms include:
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disturbances
If you think you might be suffering from whiplash, you should seek medical care quickly. Some people feel that because whiplash is typically not very severe, that they can skip the doctor's visit and just take it easy while they heal.
But your doctor can help you rule out other types of injuries. You might have a broken bone or another type of injury that could get worse and more painful over time, or simply not heal at all without the proper care. So, even if you think you just have a mild case of whiplash, you should still take the time to discuss it with your doctor. Your health is a priority, so don't put it off.
Recovery Time for Whiplash
Recovery will be a little bit different for each person. How quickly you'll get better depends on a few different factors. If it is your first time dealing with whiplash and you are lucky enough to have a mild whiplash injury, then you'll heal up fairly quickly.
If you have pre-existing neck or back problems though, you might take a little longer to heal. Also, if you've had whiplash a time or two before, it may take longer to heal. Age can also play a factor in how fast you heal up. Typically, in most mild or moderate cases of whiplash, you will heal and feel better again in just a few short weeks.
Treatment for Whiplash
Your doctor will probably recommend a simple over-the-counter painkiller to ease the discomfort of your whiplash. In more severe cases, the doctor will prescribe something a little stronger if the pain is too much. Applying heat or ice to your neck can also help ease the pain.
On top of that, your doctor will definitely tell you to take it easy and avoid any rigorous activity until you are healed up. Trying to do anything too strenuous could only worsen your injury and cause you more pain. In severe cases, you might need some form of physical therapy or even a neck brace.
Even in mild cases though, it probably wouldn't hurt to take a day or two off of work while you recuperate. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether or not you should take it easy for a while or if it's safe to return to work.
Here at AlaMed Injury Clinics, we can give you more information about whiplash and handle any questions or concerns that you might have about your injury. We can help you feel better and return to your normal activities with early diagnosis and treatment for whiplash.