Whiplash is the result of a traumatic experience to the body, and is anything but pleasant. If you’re in an accident or have suffered a trauma, the signs indicating whiplash might not be immediately present, but will show up soon. This trauma happens when any sudden movement of the head or body jolts the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the neck and spine. The body may stop moving before the head, causing the neck to “whip” forward without control. If you believe you have whiplash, it’s important to know how to recognize the symptoms and know the appropriate steps in order to properly care for it.
Know the Symptoms of whiplash
Signs of whiplash can start as early as the day of the incident. Take notice if you recognize any neck or head stiffness or pain. Be alert to the following symptoms, as they may indicate a whiplash injury.
- Stiffness around the neck, back or shoulders
- Headache or dizziness
- Ringing in ears
- Pain from shoulders, neck or jaw
- Weakness in arm, or pains in arm
- Blurry vision
More severe symptoms may indicate you’ve been suffering from whiplash longer than you realize. The condition is called “whiplash associated disorder” and causes chronic suffering from symptoms of whiplash. Signs of this may begin to affect your mood and daily routine. These symptoms can include mood issues, like depression or a quickness to anger. Other symptoms that could alert you to a problem could be becoming easily frustrated, overly anxious or stressed, and trouble sleeping. Of course, trying to treat these problems without understanding their cause may lead to drug dependency.
Care for Whiplash
Understanding whiplash as a real injury is the first step to treating it. While there are no quick-fix remedies for whiplash, the discomfort is something a patient can learn how to manage. Nearly all patients have the ability to recover from it. If ignored, however, sufferers may develop the more severe condition, chronic whiplash associated disorder, which takes longer to recover from.
Be active, but don’t overexert
If a patient exercises the injured area, they will show faster signs of improvement. From home or at work, implement exercises to be performed approximately 10 times per hour within the first few days of the incident. With a corrected posture, try the following activities:
- Rotation – Gently rotate your head to look over you left shoulder. Repeat on right side.
- Side bending – Starting from the center, bring your left ear to you left shoulder. Perform on the right side.
- Forward and backward bending – With you head centered, look down and bring your chin to your chest. Lift chin and slowly roll the head and neck backwards so that you’re looking at the ceiling.
Be normal, but don’t under-exert either
Though it might be tempting to rest the affected area, patients who are immobile increase their chances of developing chronic symptoms. This is caused by a decrease of blood flow to the injured tissues, and blood is imperative to healing the muscles. Keep moving and don’t let it stiffen. It’s important to go about your normal activities as best you can.
Our team of medical professionals at Comprehensive Pain and Neurology Center are trained to help patients in whiplash injuries. To review pain and determine the best course of treatment for you, call us today at (615) 410-4990 or request an appointment.