Whiplash affects thousands of people a year and is the most common of all car accident injuries. It is known as a hidden injury because of how the symptoms of whiplash can be delayed for hours or even days after the car accident happened. If you were in a car accident and don’t notice any pain or other symptoms right away, you could still have an internal injury that could appear later on. When you are in a stressful event like a car accident, your body’s adrenaline gets flowing and can prevent you from recognizing symptoms of pain right away. That’s why you should always visit a doctor after a car accident so you can begin treatment for whiplash right away and avoid any long-term effects.
What Does Whiplash Feel Like?
There are many symptoms of whiplash and each person will experience whiplash a little differently depending on their body, any previous injuries, and the type and severity of the car accident itself. However, there are common symptoms of whiplash that many people will experience hours and days afterward. If you have a whiplash injury, then you might start to notice pain in your head, neck, and shoulders after the accident. Many people experience headaches and the muscles in the neck feel sensitive and tender.
As the whiplash injury sets in, you might start to experience stiffness and soreness in your neck and back, too. Sore and stiff neck muscles can make it difficult to complete certain movements, like turning your head from side to side. Whiplash can also cause misalignments in your spine that can cause back pain, tingling, and numbness. Even if you don’t experience all of these symptoms right away, a whiplash injury has delayed symptoms that will gradually show up in the days afterward.
What Are the Possible Long-Term Effects of Whiplash?
If you skip the doctor after a car accident then you run the risk of developing negative long-term effects of your injury. Car accident doctors provide treatment for whiplash every day and understand how to treat this complex injury that involves your head, neck, and back. Once the adrenaline and shock of the accident wear off, you will start to notice symptoms and you shouldn’t ignore these. If you don’t get treatment for whiplash then you may start to experience long-term effects of whiplash.
The most common long-term effect after a whiplash injury is chronic pain. You may develop chronic pain in your neck, upper back, and shoulders after a car accident. The stiffness in your neck muscles can lead to long-term mobility issues, like restricting your range of motion in how you turn your head and neck. Another long-term effect of whiplash that goes untreated is chronic headaches. Chronic headaches after whiplash can feel like pain that starts in the neck and radiates into your forehead. If you also have chronic neck pain, then flare-ups of your pain can actually trigger these headaches.
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed and Treated?
The best way to treat whiplash is to get started as soon as possible. Visit a car accident doctor who can diagnose your whiplash injury using a variety of techniques. Unlike some conditions, there isn’t one specific sign on an X-ray or CT scan that shows a whiplash injury. Instead, your doctor will talk with you about the symptoms you have been experiencing and perform a physical examination of your head, neck, shoulders, and back. Your doctor may also want to use an X-ray or CT scan to rule out other injuries with similar symptoms, like a herniated disc, spinal injury, or broken bone. Your doctor will then use the diagnosis to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms so you can experience lasting pain relief.
There are a variety of treatments and techniques available to help manage symptoms of whiplash and also address the root cause of your injury. A chiropractor will use all-natural and non-invasive treatment techniques to address pain in your neck and back, resolve any misalignments in your spine, and soothe sore and aching muscles. In order to avoid long-term effects of whiplash, your doctor may also recommend physical therapy where you will learn stretches and exercises to help you regain your strength and range of motion.
Visit AICA Orthopedics in Marietta and learn more about our comprehensive approach to treatment for whiplash.