If you’ve been in a car accident you know just how quickly things can go wrong. In one moment everything is fine, and in the next you’re facing a nightmare. But, you’re alive and quite lucky.
Still, with all the commotion taking place after impact it might not be until much later that you recognize symptoms of whiplash. While it’s one of the most common injuries a person can suffer from a car accident, many victims don’t always seek medical attention right away. And when they do, the injury has only worsened.
What is whiplash? Essentially, it is a neck injury due to a rapid snap of the head and neck forward then back.
Let’s break it down.
When your car is struck (rear-ended is the most common cause of whiplash) your car quickly accelerates forward, followed seconds later by your torso. Since the head is heavier, it lags behind and then is violently thrown forward seconds after your torso. This hyperextension of the neck can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons in your neck.
But, whiplash can be more than just neck pain or stiffness. Even a minor accident can cause serious injuries. The problem is most victims don’t experience whiplash symptoms until 24 to 48 hours after impact.
Seconds after an accident, your body releases hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that help prevent pain so you can be alert in an emergency. Once the hormones wear off, the pain can become severe and even be accompanied with swelling, stiffness, nausea, headaches and irritability.
Here are some symptoms of whiplash you should lookout for:
- Neck pain or stiffness or worsening neck pain
- Shoulder pain or stiffness
- Upper back pain
- Blurred vision
- Tingling in the arms or hands
- Difficulty sleeping
It’s important to take your whiplash seriously and know what to do for treatment after your accident. If you don’t treat the injury right away, everyday activities will agitate and potentially worsen it.
Some people do actually feel better within a few weeks but 60% of whiplash victims who suffer even the mildest pain will still experience lifelong symptoms of whiplash, especially neck pain and stiffness.
The good news is getting treatment as soon as possible will reduce the effects of whiplash.
How to manage your whiplash symptoms:
- Apply ice and heat to help reduce swelling and pain
- Massage therapy can help you heal quicker and reduce headaches
- Do regular neck exercises
- Stay active, resting too much can cause your muscles to get stiff and make your injury worse
- See a Chiropractor
Step 5 is where we come in. We know firsthand how an injury can change your life in an instant. But relying on pain medication will never lead to a full recovery.
So how can chiropractic care help your whiplash?
Chiropractic care has been proven to be very effective for healing whiplash injuries. At Petett Chiropractic we will evaluate your spine thoroughly and treat the source of your pain to help you heal. Our treatment plan covers everything from spinal rehabilitation to massage therapy. You don’t have to smile through the pain anymore. Let’s get you on the road to recovery so you can feel like you again, before the accident, and return to normalcy.
Contact us today to book your appointment!