Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden head movement due to accelerated/ decelerated motion. A cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury is also known as this type of trauma. Whiplash is the most common injury to the cervical spine caused by rear-end or side-impact collisions. Muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and discs are injured in these crashes.
The most common cause of whiplash is being violently thrown forwards and then backwards. Neck injuries can result from movements of the spine, discs between the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and other tissues.
A whiplash injury may result from:
- Auto accidents. Rear-end collisions are a significant cause of whiplash.
- Physical abuse or assault. You can get whiplash if you are hit or shaken. It’s a common injury in shaken baby syndrome.
- Contact sports. Collisions related to sports such as football tackles can sometimes cause whiplash.
How is whiplash diagnosed?
- Pain or stiffness in the neck that goes away and then returns.
- Severe neck pain.
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in your shoulders, arms.
- Localized weakness in your arms.
Does whiplash show on an MRI?
MRI does not reveal a definitive image of whiplash; however, MRI can be helpful for diagnosis of bone fractures, slipped discs, or other severe injuries that can be ruled out with MRI, allowing specialists to determine whiplash as the primary injury to treat.
How long does whiplash last?
Typically, neck pain subsides within a few days, with more people experiencing relief within three months. But studies have found that between 12% and 50% of people suffer from persistent neck pain after a year.
Things you can do to treat whiplash
- Sick a specialist help immediately.
- It might hurt a little, but it will speed your recovery if you keep doing what you usually do.
- If you are having trouble with your neck, do not postpone your visit to a specialist.
- Do not ignore your symptoms.
Gentle osteopathic manipulations are most effective in reduction of neck pain and
improvement of range of motion (ROM).
What are the after effects of whiplash?
- Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
- Ongoing bouts of dizziness.
- Ringing in the ears that is constant or comes and goes.
- Upper or lower back pain.
- Severe, chronic headaches.
- Jaw pain.
- Numbness, weakness, or sensory symptoms in the hands, arms, or legs.
When should you see your osteopath about whiplash?
After a car accident, sports injury, or another traumatic injury, you might experience neck pain or other whiplash symptoms. It is essential to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis from your Family Doctor prior to an Osteopathic Treatment in order to ensure that broken bones or further damage aren’t causing or worsening symptoms.
What are osteopathic treatment options available?
You will need to attend Osteopathic therapy sessions for two to four weeks. This will depend on how fast you recover. Patients with delayed recovery may need longer time in rehab.
Treatment is focused on easing pain and reducing inflammation. Your Osteopath may also use massage like techniques and other hands-on treatments to ease muscle spasms and pain.
Osteopath adjusts misalignments of the facet joints and vertebrae to restore the nerve signals and improve spinal health, impacting overall physical health. Our osteopaths use gentle soft tissue and joint manipulations.
You may be given some additional advice about the use of heat, cold, and exercise to help maintain the results of your osteopathic treatment.
Active treatments are added within the comfortable range of motion to restore your neck proprioception.
There is a strong emphasis on keeping as active as possible, including incorporating manual treatments and exercise. Before your rehab program ends, your healthcare team will teach you how to maintain any improvements you’ve made and ways to avoid future problems.