Whiplash describes neck pain that occurs as a result of an auto accident. This happens when the body is jerked a certain way. Whiplash is the result from almost any auto accident, including on a motorcycle, a car, a go-kart, and even a golf cart.
Speed can also be a factor in whiplash and neck pain injuries. The speed that the cars were traveling at the moment of the auto accident will determine the amount of pressure that the neck will absorb, but this may not be reflected in the amount of physical damage done to the cars. In fact, even at a speed as low as 15 miles per hour, the accident may create enough pressure in the neck to cause whiplash to the passengers in the car.
Whiplash happens when a person's head is jolted forward or backward, and the muscles in the neck are stretched to absorb the majority of the pressure. This abnormal motion and force of the head is the anchor of the pressure on the muscles and tissues, making it very difficult and painful to move the head days and weeks after an auto accident. Pain in the neck can also be related to a more severe condition of the cervical spine and neck muscles, ligaments, and soft tissues. Typically, many of these symptoms are treated with medications like painkillers and anti-inflammatories. However, why not treat whiplash and neck pain without surgery or medication?
When a patient is suffering from whiplash and neck pain, a chiropractor will typically want to closely examine x-rays or MRI scans and perform a physical examination to make a proper assessment. Measuring the pain is actually one of most difficult things to do for doctors because it's about communication, and establishing a dialogue about pain between the patient and doctor can be challenging based on the amount of information to obtain in a short amount of time.
Doctors will assess the pain and determine if it is intermittent or constant, what type of pain is occurring (e.g., stabbing, burning, etc.), what triggers pain, when pain is more likely to occur during the day, and how much pain the patient is in on a scale of 0-10. After establishing a dialogue of the patient's situation and understanding the extent of the pain, doctors will inquire about previous treatments and any medications being taken.
Some doctors may ask the patient to keep a journal of the pain that demonstrates the level of pain that occurs. This will help them better understand the patterns of the condition. A good assessment will help doctors understand what type of treatment will best suit the patient and help relieve the amount of stress they have.
Don't let whiplash and neck pain prevent you from participating in life! Depending on your condition, a chiropractor can help. Schedule your free exam today.