You’re driving on a wet road in the middle of a rainstorm, your wiper blades running quickly across your windshield, yet still making it difficult to see the car in front of you. And then BAM, you accidentally rear end the car in front of you, throwing your neck into a tizzy and jerking it in one sharp, quick motion. That’s what’s called whiplash. It’s a common neck injury caused by car accidents, falls and contact sports.
Whiplash, otherwise called cervical acceleration or deceleration injury, results from sudden, jolting motions that force the neck beyond its normal range of motion. The head is suddenly and violently whipped back and forth, while the cervical spine can be hyper extended or forced past its normal range of motion as well. All of these motions combined can injure the vertebrae, supporting ligaments, joints and muscles in the neck region.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you might have whiplash from an accident or a fall, there are some common symptoms that can help you determine if you need to seek medical help. These include, but are not limited to; extreme neck pain or stiffness, headache, dizziness, difficulty chewing or swallowing, burning or prickling sensations throughout the body, and shoulder or back pains. Symptoms may occur immediately after the incident or may take several days to develop.
Some people might have different opinions on what types of treatments to seek when injured in an automobile accident. Occasionally, a neck injury may be significant enough to require stabilization to help the area heal properly. In some cases a soft cervical collar may be prescribed to immobilize the neck while it quickly heals. Other treatments that may also help include prescribed medications such as muscle relaxants, physical therapy and small injections into the tight muscles (trigger points) to decrease the pain and spasm.
Other common conditions associated with automobile accidents include lower back pain, muscle aches or spasms, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, extreme fatigue, dizziness and severe headaches.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident resulting in any of the above symptoms or orthopedic conditions, please seek medical care from a physician. Our facilities in Marietta, Canton and Carrollton are there to help you, so please call our office at 770-421-1420 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.