If you have ever been in a car crash and experienced pain in your neck, youhave most likely had whiplash. Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neckstrain, is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck. It is usually caused bysudden extension (backward movement of the neck) and flexion (forwardmovement of the neck). This type of injury is often the result of rear-end carcrashes. Severe whiplash can also include injury to the intervertebral joints,discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve roots. What Is It?Whiplash is a collective term used to describe the injuries to the cervicalspine (neck). This condition often results from an automobile collision, whichsuddenly forces the head and neck to whip back and forth(hyperflexion/hyperextension). Symptoms of WhiplashMost people experience neck pain either immediately after the injury orseveral days later. Other symptoms of whiplash may include the following:
Neck stiffness Injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries) Headache and dizziness (symptoms of a concussion) Difficulty swallowing and chewing and hoarseness (could indicate injury to the esophagus and larynx) Abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling (this is called paresthesias) Shoulder pain Back pain Diagnosis of Whiplash Although whiplash usually only causes damage to the soft tissues of the neck, the physician will take x-rays of the cervical spine for reference in case of delayed symptoms and to rule out other spinal problems or injuries.
Treatment Fortunately, whiplash is treatable and most symptoms resolve completely. Initially, whiplash is treated with a soft cervical collar. This collar may need to be worn for 2 to 3 weeks. Other treatments for individuals with whiplash may include the following: Heat therapy to relieve muscle tension and pain Pain medications such as analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Muscle relaxants Range of motion exercises and physical therapy For most patients, the symptoms of whiplash usually subside in 2 to 4 weeks. Patients who continue to have symptoms despite treatment may find temporary relief by keeping the neck immobilized using a halter in the office or at home. This is referred to as cervical traction. Local anesthetic injections may also be helpful.
If symptoms continue or worsen after 6 to 8 weeks, further x-rays and otherdiagnostic testing may be necessary to see if the patient suffered a moresevere injury. Severe extension injuries like whiplash can damage theintervertebral discs. If this occurs, surgical repair of the discs may becomenecessary.POSTED BY ATTORNEY RENE G. GARCIA:For more information:- Some of our clients have suffered this kind ofinjuries due to a serious accident. The Garcia Law Firm, P.C. was able tosuccessfully handle these types of cases. For a free consultation please callus at 1-866- SCAFFOLD or 212-725-1313.http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/whiplash/whiplash-neck-trauma-treatment
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