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Do You Have Whiplash?

By Sara Butler

Car accidents happen. The problem is that even the tiniest of fender benders can wreak havoc on your neck and spine. That’s why it’s important to understand how you can be injured in a car accident and what you should do about it when or if it happens to you.

Whiplash – What is It?

Whiplash is a term used to describe an injury to your neck and the surrounding soft tissues that result from an automobile accident. Whiplash is often associated with rear impact in an accident, but can really happen any time that your vehicle comes to a sudden stop due to hitting or being hit by someone else.

Whiplash is also called a neck strain or neck sprain, and it happens to about one million people every year.

What Causes Whiplash?

Whiplash is caused by a fairly simple mechanism. When your body experiences a very sudden start or stop, it will cause your head to move in the direction you were traveling and then suddenly snap back. This very abrupt motion puts stress on the neck and surrounding tissues, resulting in injury.

How Serious Is It?

Whiplash is not generally a condition that will threaten your life but it is an injury that can be very severe and difficult to recover from. Some people do not seek treatment for their whiplash and let it heal on its own, but this approach can lead to problems for years after the accident occurs, so it’s always best to see your chiropractor for an evaluation no matter how small the accident may have been.

The Symptoms

There are several symptoms of whiplash, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Problems focusing
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

It can take as long as 24 hours for the symptoms to show up, so don’t assume if you walk away from an accident and feel OK that no harm has been done.

Do You Have Whiplash?

So, how do you know for sure you have whiplash after an accident? If you are involved in a car accident or experience another accident that involves your upper body, then you need to see your chiropractor immediately. You can’t diagnose yourself when it comes to whiplash, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and begin treatment as soon as possible.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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