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Could Your Neck Pain Be Whiplash?

If you’ve recently been in an accident, particularly one involving a vehicle that’s hit from behind, that neck pain you’ve been dealing with might be a whiplash related disorder.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a generic term that’s used to describe an injury where the neck is quickly jolted in one direction and then another, similar to the movement of a whip. While most whiplash patients are the result of auto accidents, the same results can be seen after a fall or injury.

Common Signs of Whiplash

The most common symptom related to whiplash is a feeling of pain and stiffness in the neck. If you’re suffering from whiplash related disorder, you may find that turning your head can make the discomfort in your neck even worse.

Another common sign of whiplash is a headache, particularly at the base of the skull. More than two out of three patients report both unilateral and bilateral headache. Additional discomfort may be felt in the shoulders, arms, chest and back.

Some patients with whiplash related disorder display symptoms that one would not normally think of as typical. Dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and difficulty swallowing are all signs that should be reported to your chiropractic team immediately.

Other, less dangerous symptoms include fatigue, irritability and trouble concentrating on tasks. Most of these signs will typically go away on their own within a few days.

It is very common for whiplash patients to feel fine immediately after an accident. It frequently takes several hours after an injury for whiplash symptoms to develop. That’s why you should seek medical treatment after being rear ended in a car accident even if you’re not displaying any outward physical signs immediately afterward.

Treating Whiplash

Many years ago, the treatment for whiplash was to keep the patient as immobilized as possible. Nowadays, doctors know that unless the injury is extremely serious, it’s wise for a patient to stay as active as possible.  In addition to performing an alignment, your Doctor of Chiropractic will probably prescribe a program of exercise and stretching, in addition to hot and cold therapy.

While there’s no way to prevent whiplash entirely, you can reduce your likelihood by wearing your seatbelt whenever you’re in a car (and insisting that others do the same). If the worst happens and you are in an accident, visit your chiropractic team as soon as you can. The sooner you begin treating your whiplash related disorder, the better your chances are of recovering from it completely.

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