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Whiplash: More Than a Pain In the Neck

whiplash image

Whiplash injuries should be treated immediately so they don't worsen.

Who knew a fun day at the amusement park could result in a whiplash injury?

When they hear the word, “whiplash,” most people immediately picture a rear-end motor vehicle accident. But there are other ways that whiplash injuries can occur, including:

  • Assault, such as being punched or shaken
  • Roller coaster rides
  • Sports, especially contact sports such as football or boxing
  • Falls

A whiplash injury occurs when the cervical spine (neck) is stretched beyond its normal range of motion in a forward (flexion), backward (extension) or sideways movement. The discs between the vertebrae, along with their associated muscles, tendons and ligaments can be stretched or torn, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • neck pain, stiffness or tenderness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • numbness or tingling sensation
  • muscle spasms
  • irritability
  • memory loss
  • blurred vision
  • ringing in the ears
  • back pain
  • swelling

These symptoms and related pain can show up immediately or up to 72 hours after the impact that caused the whiplash injury. And the pain and discomfort can last for months, even years.

An article in the British Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine stated that “chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases” of whiplash injury. The article reported the results of a study in which 26 out of 28 patients with chronic whiplash syndrome benefitted from chiropractic care. The authors also noted that “conventional treatment of patients with whiplash is disappointing.”

The goal of chiropractic care is to return neck joints affected by whiplash to their normal position to relieve stress on affected nerves and strain on affected muscles. For best results, and to avoid the formation of scar tissue and unnecessary pain, you should make an appointment to come in for an examination as soon as possible after a whiplash injury. Neck pain relief may be as simple as that!

People often down play the extent of their injuries initially after an accident. This can cause serious problems later on as most of the injury is to the disc and facet joints. These structure can become a chronic source of pain in time if not treated properly.

Dr. Robert Haley is a Lyndhurst, NJ chiropractor who has been practicing for twelve years.

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