Whiplashmost often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma. Common signs and symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness and headaches. Most people with whiplash recover within a few months after a course of pain medication, exercise and other treatments. Some people experience chronic neck pain and other ongoing complications.
Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.
Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Some people also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
See your doctor if you experience any neck pain or other whiplash symptoms following a car accident, sports injury or other traumatic injury. It is important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis and to rule out fractures or other tissue damage that may be contributing to symptoms. The goals of treatment are to control pain, restore normal range of motion in your neck and return you to normal activities.
The course of treatment will vary depending on the severity of your whiplash injury. For some people, over-the-counter drugs and at-home care may be sufficient. Other people may need prescription drugs, specialized pain treatment or chiropractic therapies. A chiropractic doctor can help patients with this condition restore the movement in their neck with conservative treatment.
Manipulation of the cervical vertebrae will allow the patient to regain the normal range of motion, which will reduce the pain and discomfort. Also, your chiropractor will likely prescribea series of stretching and movement exercises to help restore range of motion in your neck and enable you to resume normal activities.