Whiplash most commonly results from motor accidents. There are millions of people across the globe who are suffering from this condition. But many people mistreat or ignore the condition due to their unawareness. Whiplash affects an individual’s neck following a rapid backward and forward movement of the head and neck. This mostly happens during a motor accident. The term whiplash injury was used as far back as 1928 to describe the damage to the soft tissues and bone structure in the neck area. On the other hand, whiplash associated disorder is used to describe a more severe and chronic condition. The condition can result in economic expenses such as medical care, sick leave, lost productivity, litigation, and disability.
In fact, the economic expenses related to whiplash reach up to $30-billion a year in the United States alone.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash most commonly occurs during a motor accident when an individual is in a car that isn’t moving but hit by another vehicle from behind. This sort of impact will force the head and neck of the individual to a backward position as the seat will push the individual forward. After a short while, the head and neck of the individual will recover and thrown into a forward position. Recent studies have shown that after the rear impact the lower bones in the neck are forced into a backward position while the upper bones in the neck are in a forward position.
This will lead to an abnormal “S” shape in the cervical spine. In fact, this abnormal position is what causes the damage to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together.
The Major Symptoms Of Whiplash
There are many common symptoms of the condition. Some of these symptoms include:
. Neck pain or stiffness
. Shoulder pain and stiffness
. Jaw pain
. Arm pain
. Back pain
. Shoulder pain
. Visual disturbances
. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
On the other hand, if an individual is suffering from a more chronic case of whiplash associated disorder, he or she may have the following symptoms, too.
. Drug dependency
. Post-traumatic stress syndrome
How Is The Condition Diagnosed?
The patient may be taken to a doctor’s office or hospital after an auto accident. The doctor will perform a thorough check to see if the individual has any injuries that need treatment. Based on the symptoms of the person, the healthcare provider may place a collar on his/her neck for additional protection. The doctor will get an x-ray of the neck to see if there are other injuries in the area. If the x-ray is normal but the patient keeps complaining about a neck pain, the healthcare provider will keep the neck collar in place and ask the patient to come after about one-week for an additional examination. The doctor will take another x-ray to see if there are any changes to the neck area. He or she may also obtain an MRI to diagnose the condition properly. In fact, an MRI scan is much better to detect injuries to the soft tissues in the neck area. That is how your healthcare provider will diagnose whiplash.
Treatments For Whiplash
Treatments for the condition may depend on the symptoms present in the individual. The patient will be educated on the condition so that he or she understands that whiplash is a real injury that should be treated immediately. In fact, nearly all patients have the ability to recover with the right type of treatment. It is important to treat the condition early on before it leads to the more chronic whiplash associated disorder. The initial treatment for whiplash is the soft cervical collar. The patient has to wear the collar for several weeks to get rid of the condition. If the patient starts to develop psychological symptoms such as anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety, the healthcare provider will treat the emotional condition of the individual. These are very important things to consider when you are suffering from whiplash.
Whiplash is a condition that affects millions of people around the globe. The above article provides information on the effects of whiplash.