Whiplash is a common injury that can be sustained from a car accident, fall, trauma, or any other incident that results in a sudden and forceful movement of the head and neck. Even a minor car accident can result in whiplash. While this type of injury is not fatal, it can be painful and result in long-term health consequences. Seeking treatment for whiplash as soon as possible is critical to a quick and full recovery from the injury. If you are suffering from whiplash, contact The Hurt 911 Injury Center at 855-475-2588 to find out more about whiplash injury treatment in Atlanta. We use an integrated approach with chiropractic care and physiotherapy.
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What Is Whiplash?Whiplash is an injury to the neck that results from the rapid and forceful back and forth motion of the head. The motion causes strain to the neck muscles and can also be referred to as a neck strain injury or sprain.
What Are the Common Causes of Whiplash?The most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end collision or car accident. The force from the impact of one vehicle rear-ending another vehicle results in the quick forward and then backward forceful movement of the head which results in strain to the neck muscles. However, the injury can also result from other types of car accidents. Vehicles do not need to be traveling at speed and minor collisions that cause little to no damage to the cars can result in whiplash. Another common cause of whiplash is physical trauma to the neck. This can result from physical assault or abuse. Contact sports and sporting accidents are also a contributor towards whiplash injuries as are falls. Any accident or event that results in the rapid back and forth movement of the head can strain the neck and therefore result in whiplash.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?It is important to recognize the symptoms of whiplash in order to seek whiplash injury treatment in Atlanta as soon as possible. Symptoms may not appear immediately after experiencing trauma to the neck. It can take days or even weeks for the symptoms to appear. It is therefore recommended to consult a doctor or visit a Hurt 911 Injury Center as soon as possible after being in a car accident or experiencing trauma to the neck that could result in whiplash. If you notice any of the following symptoms after experiencing trauma to the head or neck, contact the Hurt 911 Injury Center, Atlanta immediately. Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Stiffness and neck pain
- Increased pain when moving the head or neck
- Reduced range of motion of the neck
- Headache (commonly at the top of the spine or base of the skull)
- Pain or tenderness in the arms, shoulders and/or upper neck
- A tingling sensation or numbness in the arms
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Dizziness or fainting
- Blurry vision
- Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Difficulty remembering
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?Whiplash is diagnosed symptomatically which means that the symptoms that are present along with an event that caused trauma to the neck or head are used to diagnose whiplash. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan will be ordered which can identify damage to the soft tissue in the neck. These tests can also be used to diagnose complications of whiplash such as damage to the discs or vertebrae. Patients presenting with severe neck pain, reduced motion of the neck, and pain or numbness in the arms may be sent for a CT or MRI scan. Patients who are at greater risk of developing complications from whiplash may also require CT or MRI scans. At-risk patients include the elderly, car accident victims, and those who already have back or neck conditions or have suffered from a whiplash injury before.
What Are Some of the Different Whiplash Injury Treatments in Atlanta?Whiplash is commonly treated according to a plan that integrates a number of different therapies or treatments. These treatments may include the following:
- The application of cold or ice packs to the affected area to reduce swelling or inflammation.
- Rest and relaxation to allow the injury to heal and reduce further strain on the neck.
- Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce mild pain and swelling.
- Prescription medicine such as antidepressants which alleviate nerve pain.
- Muscle relaxants to relax the muscles and reduce strain.
- Injections that numb the area such as Lidocaine.
Foam CollarsYour doctor may prescribe a foam collar to be worn around the neck to protect it from further strain and injury for a period of time. Foam collars are a traditional treatment for whiplash. However, recent research has shown that while a soft collar can help reduce pain, it may also delay healing and recovery. The use of a soft collar has therefore been reduced to a few hours a day or to assist with holding the neck still while sleeping rather than wearing the collar constantly for days or even weeks. Your treating doctor should provide you with information on how to use the collar, when it should be worn and for how long.
ExerciseA doctor may prescribe a range of exercises to be performed at home to gently stretch the neck muscles. This will help reduce stiffness and restore range of motion. Some exercises that your doctor may recommend include:
- Slowly rotating the head in one direction and then the other.
- Tilting the head to one side and then the other.
- Lowering the head towards the chest and then lifting it up again.
- Rolling one shoulder, then the other shoulder and lastly both shoulders together.
- You may be referred to a physiotherapist who will assist with stretching and working the neck to restore range of motion and reduce stiffness.
What Are Some Alternative Treatments for Whiplash Injuries?Other treatments for whiplash include:
- Massage therapy to reduce stiffness in the neck area and promote healing. Gentle massage has proven to be extremely beneficial in aiding recovery from a whiplash injury.
- Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate neck pain by inserting fine needles into specific pressure points around the body.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) delivers mild electrical pulses to the affected area to improve muscle strength and reduce neck pain.
- Chiropractic care uses manipulation of the spine and joints in order to relieve neck pain associated with whiplash.