Snowy and icy roads are slippery. Good time to discuss whiplash injuries
Whiplash Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents.
What structures are injured in a whiplash? Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury. In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.
What are the common signs and symptoms of whiplash? The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse. Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds of patients. In addition, the pain and stiffness may extend down into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest. In addition to the musculoskeletal symptoms, some patients also experience dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and even blurred vision after a whiplash injury. Some patients may feel pain in the jaw. Others will even complain of irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Another important and interesting aspect of whiplash is that the signs and symptoms often do not develop until 2 to 48 hours after the injury.
How is whiplash treated? Staying active One of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to stay active, unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization. Patients should not be afraid to move and be active, within reason. In addition, your doctor will often prescribe an exercise or stretching program. It is particularly important to follow this program as prescribed, so that you can achieve the best long-term benefits.
Chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries. Other physical therapy modalities, such as electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound, may provide some short-term relief. They should not, however, replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching. Spinal manipulation and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor will also give relief in many cases of neck pain.
Drive carefully, slow down during bad weather conditions, leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you and wear your seat belts!!! Best of health