Whiplash is an injury that is often ignored by people or mistreated for lack of proper information. It is a condition where an injury is caused to the neck region due to sudden, rapid and unrestrained forceful backward-forward movement of the neck.
A whiplash injury causes damage both to the soft tissues and the bone structure in the neck region. If left untreated; it can lead to whiplash-related disorder, which is a chronic and more severe condition that can make neck movement very painful.
Common Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash is commonly caused due to car accidents wherein a stationary car is suddenly hit from behind by another car. This sudden and forceful rear impact causes your head and neck region into a backward position (hyperextension) as the torso moves forward.
As you recover, your head is thrown into a forward position (hyperflexion) within seconds.
This sudden, rapid and high-impact movement pushes the bones and muscles in the lower neck region into the hyperextension position while the bones and muscles in the upper neck region are pushed into the hyperflexion position.
This causes an abnormal S-shape formation in the cervical spine, which affects the soft tissues such as ligaments and muscles that surround the cervical vertebrae.
A whiplash injury can also occur during high impact sports such as football, skiing, snowboarding, boxing, gymnastics and so on. It can also result from a fall.
Older people or those with existing neck problems are more susceptible to whiplash injury.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Although not a life-threatening condition, a whiplash injury can leave you immobilised for several days or weeks.
Most people recover gradually, but in severe cases or in older people or those with neck problems, the injury can lead to other symptoms. These include headaches, pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder region, fatigue, dizziness, jaw pain, pain in the upper arms, tinnitus or back pain.
The first thing people do is take painkillers to relieve the immediate pain. However, this is a temporary solution that does not take care of the underlying issue.
A whiplash injury can have severe implications on the quality of your life. So it’s best to consult a chiropractor help address the underlying injury. Our chiropractors will first carry out an X-ray of the site to understand the exact condition of your cervical vertebrae, along with the necessary testing. They will then perform the required adjustments so the bones, muscles and ligaments are able to once again move and sit with ease in normal alignment.