Whiplash Questions and Answers
What is whiplash?
Whiplash, also known as a hyperextension-hyperflexion injury, is an injury to the neck that is caused by a sudden, sometimes forceful, movement of the head backward, forward or sideways causing your neck to go beyond its normal range of movement. It is the snapping motion of whiplash that can damage the muscles, nerves and bones in the neck. As well as stretched or torn ligaments, vertebrae may also be forced from their normal positions. All these whiplash injuries result in limited and often painful range of movement.
What causes whiplash?
A major cause of whiplash is an automobile accident, but whiplash can also occur from sports and workplace activities. It may be a surprise to learn that whiplash can occur in very low impact accidents as well, even car accidents at speeds as low as 15 mph can result in whiplash.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms are varied, but some common symptoms include:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Pain or stiffness in lower back
- Muscle tension between shoulders
- Joint pain or muscle spasms
- Loss of sleep
Because whiplash symptoms vary and may not be felt immediately, it is always a good idea to consult your chiropractor.
Should I see a chiropractor after I've been injured in a car accident?
The aches and pains you feel after an auto accident are an indication that you have suffered some damage. Left untreated, these injuries may be the source of future pain, arthritis and other chronic conditions. More importantly, because symptoms may not appear for a few days after the car accident occurred, it is imperative that you contact your chiropractor immediately for an appointment.
How is whiplash treated?
Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan customized to your specific injuries. Your treatment may include chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, ultrasound and muscle stimulation, physiotherapy and stretching and strengthening exercises.
Most importantly, your chiropractor will thoroughly examine you, carefully review your health history, collect pertinent details of your car accident, and order any necessary diagnostic tests in order to best tailor your specific treatment plan. Your recovery plan will be clinically supported, monitored and adjusted if necessary; all to best ensure your return to a healthy active life!