What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a common result of a car accident – especially a rear-end collision. It can also be caused by falls sports injuries and high-impact activities. The injury occurs when the head and neck are forced backwards and forwards – putting quick and extreme stresses on the cervical spine. The formal name for a whiplash is Cervical Acceleration-Deceleration Syndrome.
The most typical symptom is neck pain which can be minor or quite painful. People who suffer whiplash may also have a stiff neck, loss of range of motion of the neck, headaches, upper back pain, and shoulder pain. Symptoms can also include tingling and numbness.There may be companion injuries such as a concussion, a pinched nerve that radiates into the arm, and injury to the shoulder.
Whiplash and Pain Management
The normal recovery time for whiplash is about three (3) months. Some patients, though, can have chronic pain which can last for years. Some of the reasons the recovery time can be longer for some people are:
• Old age
•Strong pain at the time of the initial impact
• Being female
Whiplash may appear at the time of the accident or may take a day to present symptoms.
Signs that the whiplash is chronic or that a pain management doctor should be consulted
Anyone who has a car accident or any accident that triggers or might trigger whiplash should see a doctor immediately. Some of the signs that the whiplash is not resolving as it should and that a pain management doctor should be seen are:
• Severe pain
• The neck is unstable
• Tingling and numbness that extends into the arm, hand, or should
• Loss of balance
• Emotional disorders including difficulty sleeping, depression, and an inability to concentrate
• Problems with vision
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will take your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and order diagnostic tests if nerve damage or a fracture is suspected.
• The medical history will include questions about how the accident happened.
• The physical exam will include range of motion tests, feeling for palpitations. The doctor may also test your reflexes and your muscle strength.
• Diagnostic tests, if more serious problems are suspected, will likely include an X-Ray, an MRI, and/or a CT Scan.
The doctor may categorize the seriousness of the whiplash according to the Quebec Task Force Whiplash Associated Disorder Classification System Treatment for Whiplash Treatment normally includes:
• Ice or heat
• Medications such as Tylenol or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as Advil, Aleve, or Motrin.
• Physical therapy
• Injections such as a cervical epidural steroid injection
• Radiofrequency neurotomy
• Mental health counseling
Other remedies may include massages and chiropractic manipulations.
For help with any pain issues, please call our Langhorne, Pennsylvania office at 215.741.4410. We help patients throughout Bucks County, Mercer, Philadelphia, and Montgomery Counties. We see many patients from Langhorne, Newtown, Fairless Hills, Levittown, Bristol, Richboro, and Doylestown.
Disclaimer: This blog and all of our blogs do not create a doctor/patient relationship. For medical advise, please make an appointment with our office.