What causes whiplash?

The most common cause of whiplash is an automobile accident in which your vehicle is still and struck from behind. This impact causes your head and neck to be thrust backward as your seat pushes your torso forward. This action is immediately followed by your head being thrown in the opposite direction. Other potential causes of this sudden movement include accidents while riding a bike, riding a horse, or during some types of sports.

The sudden jerking leads to an abnormal shape in the cervical spine and damages the connective tissue and muscles that hold your cervical vertebrae in the neck together.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

You may have immediate symptoms of whiplash following the trauma. These include neck stiffness, limited range of motion, and neck pain. You may not notice whiplash symptoms for 24 hours, or even for a few days. Other things to look for if you’ve been in an accident that could cause whiplash include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Poor sleep
  • Chronic pain in your head, neck, or shoulders

Less commonly, whiplash can cause irritability, depression, and memory or concentration problems.

Why should I seek treatment?

Left untreated, whiplash can lead to chronic pain and headaches. You may also develop depression due to the pain as well as chemical dependence. At Keystone Health & Wellness Center, Dr. Ryan and Nurse Practitioner Odom address the damaged neck joints, disks, and ligaments with proper treatment to prevent these complications.

How is whiplash treated?

At Keystone Health & Wellness Center, Dr. Ryan and Nurse Practitioner Odom address all aspects of neck pain associated with whiplash. Dr. Ryan offers chiropractic adjustments to realign vertebrae in the neck and upper spine that may have shifted out of place during the trauma that caused whiplash. This can relieve muscle imbalances and nerve compression.

You also receive physical rehabilitation, which includes soft tissue manipulation and exercises that help ease your pain. The staff may apply energy from a TENS unit to stimulate your nerves and eliminate pain symptoms.

How do trigger point injections help whiplash pain?

In severe cases of whiplash, Nurse Practitioner Royceanne Odommay recommend trigger point injections to address the knots of muscles that fail to relax and aggravate whiplash pain. The injections consist of a local painkiller, which reduces inflammation.