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Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash After a Wreck

woman showing signs of whiplash after a car accident

Understanding Whiplash

If you have recently been physically injured in any kind of accident and have experienced prolonged symptoms afterward such as:

  •    Severe neck pain
  •    Neck stiffness or loss of range of motion
  •    Generalized pain in the upper body (shoulders, arms)
  •    Headaches
  •    Dizziness or fatigue

then it could be a cause for concern namely whiplash, is defined as a neck injury provoked by forceful, abrupt back-and-forth movement in the neck area. It is very much similar to the cracking of a whip in the neck – ouch.

Were You Involved in a Car Accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident then the likelihood of suffering from whiplash is quite high although it isn’t just limited to this case. There are also many other instances which could leave someone suffering from the ailment including:

  •    Sports injury
  •    Physical abuse
  •    Trauma

Sports injuries, especially football related ones, also tend to carry a significance cant risk of whiplash injuries. Always remember to utilize proper gear when participating in any kind of physical contact sport.  

What to Do After Your Accident

If you feel you have sustained serious neck injuries after an accident, then it is essential to get a prompt diagnosis in order to determine the root cause of your ailment. If there are any broken bones or tissue damage, it could severely worsen your condition if left unchecked. Book a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible and be ready to answer some of these example questions before your visit:

  •    On a scale from 1-10, where would you rate your neck pain?
  •    What effect does movement have on the pain?
  •    Are there any other symptoms present?
  •    How long after the accident did the injury begin to manifest itself?
  •    Have you had neck pain in the past?
  •    Have you tried any medication to alleviate the pain?
  •    What medications, if any, do you take on a regular basis?

If you are able to provide clear and succinct answers to all of these questions above, then your doctor should have no problem in diagnosing and treating your injury.

Do You Suspect You're Suffering from Whiplash?

If you suspect you are suffering from whiplash, then it is imperative to receive a proper evaluation from an experienced physician. Although most patients can recover from whiplash relatively quickly, there are some pre-existing risk factors to consider that could attribute to complications such as:

  •    Old age
  •    Existing pain in lower back region or neck pain
  •    Having previously had whiplash

The risk of suffering from complications is particularly high when dealing with older patients. The sensitive bones and joints around the neck region, are particularly vulnerable in old age. For people with a pre-existing pain in the lower back region, the addition of a neck injury could severely worsened their underlying condition. Lastly, if you have already suffered from whiplash than an additional injury could further debilitate your underlying joints and muscle. In all cases, the patient should seek immediate medical attention.

Finding the Right Doctor to Treat Your Injury

If you live in the greater New York City area, then take a look at these links of several reputable doctors with experience in treating whiplash. Make sure to do your due diligence in order to find the best option for you.

Once you have found the right doctor for you, then the proper course of action can be taken. When it comes to diagnosis of whiplash, there are a few options available:

  •    Physical examination
  •    Imaging tests

The simplest form of diagnosis entails a physical examination, in this case the doctor will probe your neck in order to determine the extent of the injury. They will test for range of motion, tenderness, and strength in the area. If that isn’t sufficient, then a more sophisticated method will be utilized. Alternatively, Imaging test diagnosis which involves X-rays, CT, and MRI scans, can be used in order to accurately pinpoint the location and extent of the injury.

Once the source of the injury is discovered, your doctor will then move on to the appropriate treatment. There are many forms of treatment that can reduce the pain and discomfort caused by Whiplash. Here are some viable options:

  •    Pain management
  •    Exercise
  •    Physical therapy
  •    Alternative medicine

In the sphere of pain management, general rest could be a solid route to recovery for some patients but avoid too much bed rest. Hot and cold target therapy could also help ease aches and pains. Otherwise, over-the-counter pain medication could help in cases of more severe pain. In addition, moderate exercise could help loosen tense muscles and ligaments in the neck. If that’s not enough, you could consult the services of a physical therapist who could further assist you through guided exercises which strictly target the vulnerable points in the neck. Lastly, there’s the sphere of alternative medicine notably ranging from acupuncture to massage therapy which could prove effective for some patients. Ultimately, It is up to you and your doctor to decide the best course of action. Always heed the advice of your doctor before proceeding unto any form of treatment.