When you overexert your muscles participating in a physical activity, or end up with a sore back after spending hours on a home improvement project, the discomfort doesn’t always appear until the next day. Whiplash is also one of those conditions in which you may not feel immediate pain or symptoms, but they can present themselves and cause complications later.
The team at Keystone Health & Wellness Center wants residents of Centennial, Colorado, and the surrounding communities to know why it’s so important to receive whiplash treatment if you’ve been injured in an accident involving your head and neck.
Whiplash pain isn’t always immediate
The most common cause of whiplash is a car accident in which you are hit from behind. Sports injuries can cause whiplash symptoms, too, but they sometimes don’t appear for 24 hours or more. You may feel the effects of whiplash immediately, or they could be delayed until several days after the injury or accident that forced your head and neck to suddenly thrust backward and forward.
Even if after the initial pain of whiplash you don’t have ongoing symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek professional treatment to be sure you haven’t damaged the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your neck. Additionally, you could have even more serious injuries that caused damage to the vertebrae or discs in your spine. Left untreated, these injuries can lead to chronic problems.
Chronic pain and headaches often indicate a problem
Several days or even weeks after you experience an accident or injury, you may begin to have a headache that won’t go away, a stiff neck that limits your range of motion, or dizziness and blurred vision. These are all signs of whiplash and may indicate a more serious underlying problem such as a damaged disc or vertebrae in your neck.
Untreated whiplash symptoms can lead to chronic disability
In most cases, if you experience whiplash and receive prompt treatment, such as chiropractic adjustment, physical rehabilitation, or trigger point injections to help your neck heal properly, you experience a full recovery. However, if you don’t seek treatment, research indicates that you could end up with a long-term disability or, at the very least, chronic headaches, neck pain, and stiffness for the rest of your life.
Whiplash is unpredictable
Old age, an existing back or neck problem, and previous occurrence of whiplash have all been linked to a worse outcome for men and women who don’t get treatment for whiplash symptoms. Some individuals recover on their own a few weeks after experiencing whiplash. Others who have more serious injuries but don’t always have intolerable symptoms may continue to endure health problems for several months to several years after their injury.
Because it’s not always accurate to use the level of painful symptoms you experience as an indicator for how well you will recover, it makes sense to seek treatment as soon as possible. For instance, you may be involved in a car accident and experience mild headaches, neck stiffness, or even shoulder pain for a few days. After a while, and with the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications, you may feel better.
However, a compressed nerve in your neck or spine or a herniated disc may flare up later. Instead of fully recovering, you may instead end up living with a more chronic condition.
Chronic pain can lead to prescription medication dependency
Far too many Americans attempt to manage chronic pain by increasing their dependence on prescription medications. A federal survey showed that nearly half of the U.S. population over age 12 takes some form of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives.
Untreated whiplash symptoms that get progressively worse, and no longer respond to over-the-counter remedies, often lead men and women to seek out prescription pain pills. Many of these medications provide temporary relief and long-term addictions, and they do nothing to address the underlying cause of your pain. The sooner you seek relief for whiplash pain, the more effective natural pain-relief options can be at relieving pain and eliminating symptoms altogether.
Dr. Kevin Ryan and the team at Keystone Health & Wellness Center urge you to give them a call or schedule an appointment online if you’ve been involved in an accident. The sooner they can diagnose your whiplash symptoms and the level of damage you sustained, the sooner they can create a customized, holistic treatment plan to get you back on your feet again, naturally.