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Whiplash Relief Feature

Whiplash Relief

What Is Whiplash?

Forceful back and forth motion of the head, like the cracking of a whip, causes whiplash. Auto accidents where the victim has been rear-ended are the most common cause of whiplash, although physical abuse, sports, or other trauma can also cause whiplash. Whiplash treatment is usually successful, although whiplash can cause chronic pain or other long-lasting complications.

Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms typically show up within 24 hours of the initial injury and may include:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Loss of neck range of motion
  • Worse pain with neck movement
  • Tenderness or pain in the arms, shoulders, or upper back
  • Headaches that usually start at the base of the skull
  • Numbness or tingling in arms
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Blurry vision
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

Whiplash Causes

Whiplash is caused by the head being forcefully jerked forward and backward. This violent motion may injure bones, disks between the bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, and other tissues of the neck. The most common causes of whiplash include:

  • Car accidents, especially rear-end collisions
  • Contact sports like tackles in football
  • Physical abuse as the result of being shaken or punched; commonly seen in shaken baby syndrome

Whiplash Complications

Whiplash pain often resolves within a few weeks and does not cause any lingering pain. However, some people can be affected by whiplash complications, especially if the pain started quickly and included:

  • Headaches
  • Severe neck pain
  • Pain that extended through the arms

People with these issues may experience worse or longer-lasting symptoms of whiplash:

  • Older age
  • Previous experience with whiplash
  • Preexisting neck or lower back pain

Whiplash Diagnosis

Whiplash diagnosis usually involves telling your doctor about your symptoms and a physical exam to determine:

  • Degree of motion that causes or increases pain
  • Range of motion in neck and shoulders
  • Strength, reflexes, and sensation in arms and legs
  • Tenderness in shoulders, neck, or back

Sometimes, your doctor will want to do imaging tests to rule out other problems that could be causing your symptoms. Imaging tests may include:

  • X-rays to spot fractures, arthritis, or dislocations
  • Computerized tomography (CT) may spot bone damage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect some soft tissue injuries like damage to the spinal cord, discs, or ligaments

Whiplash Treatment

Whiplash treatment aims to:

  • Restore normal range of motion in the neck
  • Control pain
  • Get you back to normal activities

Common treatments to accomplish those goals include:

  • Rest during the first 24 hours after the injury (too much rest after the initial 24 hours can set recovery back and cause muscle weakness)
  • Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) can help manage pain
  • Heat or ice applied to the neck for 15 minutes up to 6 times per day (ice reduces inflammation, while heat reduces pain levels; you may alternate ice and heat)
  • Prescription medications such as antidepressants or muscle relaxers to manage pain
  • Injections of lidocaine (Xylocaine), a numbing medicine, may reduce pain during physical therapy sessions
  • Exercises to do at home to restore range of motion
  • Physical therapy to strengthen your muscles, improve posture, and restore normal movement
  • Foam collars are not commonly used for whiplash anymore since keeping the neck still can cause weakness of the neck muscles and delay healing
  • Acupuncture uses tiny needles inserted into specific points to reduce pain
  • Massage can loosen tense muscles and bring pain relief
  • Chiropractic care uses joint manipulation techniques to provide pain relief, especially when paired with exercise or physical therapy

Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash Relief

A chiropractor will assess your entire spine to look for other injuries besides just the whiplash. After a thorough examination, chiropractic treatment for whiplash relief may involve:

    • Ultrasound to reduce inflammation
    • Gentle stretching and manual therapy techniques to relax stiff muscles
    • Spinal manipulation to restore normal range of motion
    • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy to treat injured soft tissue
    • Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques to loosen stiff muscles
    • Therapeutic massage to ease muscle tension in the neck
    • Trigger point therapy to relieve muscle tension

Whiplash FAQs

Why Is the Term Whiplash?

Whiplash is the most common neck injury in an auto accident. However, you can also receive whiplash at home, work, or while playing sports. Whiplash is caused by the rapid backward and forward motion of your neck. This results in small tears in the muscles and ligaments. Unlike other common auto accident injuries, whiplash has a very evocative name. The term is used because the motion of your head and neck resembles the cracking of a whip.

Do I Have Whiplash?

There are many whiplash symptoms. The most common are

  • Neck stiffness.
  • Neck pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Range of motion issues.

You can find a complete list of whiplash symptoms above. If you are experiencing any other of these symptoms, you may have whiplash. The likelihood that your problem is whiplash increases if you’ve been in a car accident in the last 24 hours. Additionally, be on the lookout for whiplash symptoms if you have been in a situation where there has been a forceful backward and forward motion of your head.

When Do Whiplash Symptoms Appear?

Whiplash symptoms typically appear within 24 hours after an accident. That is not always the case, however. Some people don’t experience whiplash symptoms until a few days after the incident. That is why it is so important to visit a chiropractor like Southside Chiropractic right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the better and quicker your body will be able to heal. 

Expect that your whiplash symptoms will persist for a week or two. Prompt treatment can speed up this timeline a bit. But everyone’s body is different. The severity of the whiplash will determine how long it takes for your body to go back to normal.

What Are the Best Options for Whiplash Relief?

Thankfully, whiplash is a common injury. There are a lot of treatment options to try. Rest, pain medications like Tylenol or Advil, heat or ice, and physical therapy are all common whiplash treatments. 

If your whiplash symptoms are more severe, you may also try massage, acupuncture, prescription medications, or numbing injections. Yet, of all these treatment options, your best bet is chiropractic care. Your chiropractor may use some or all of the treatments mentioned here. These in addition to joint manipulation techniques can provide pain relief and speed up the healing process.

How Can Southside Chiropractic Car & Injury Clinic Help?

At Southside Chiropractic, we are experts in whiplash diagnosis and treatment. If you have been in a car accident in Jacksonville, FL, you need to contact us right away.

Your visit will start with a diagnosis. We will discuss your symptoms and determine if whiplash is the cause of your pain. Then we will talk about treatment options. These may include the following

  • Stretching and massage.
  • Home exercises.
  • Manual joint stretching.
  • Trigger point therapy.
  • Spinal manipulation.
  • Ultrasound

Don’t let whiplash keep you in pain. Prompt and consistent treatment will reduce symptoms and leave you pain-free in no time.

Are you suffering from the pain of whiplash? Click here or call Southside Chiropractic Car Injury Clinic today at 904-497-0823 to schedule a consultation to see if we can help bring you whiplash relief.

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