Car accidents, blows to the back in sports, and on-the-job injuries can easily leave you with a whiplash injury. While symptoms are often felt immediately, pain may be delayed for days, months, or, in rare cases, even years. In fact, many people wake up with neck pain without being aware of ever having a head or neck injury. The most common symptom of whiplash (affecting 62% to 92% of those injured) is neck pain, and it usually begins between two hours and two days after the accident. This is often the result of tightened muscles that react to either muscle tears or excessive movement of joints from ligament damage. The muscles tighten in an effort to splint up and support the head, limiting the excessive movement. While muscle relaxants and pain killers can relieve some of the discomfort of these muscle spasms, these medications will only cover up symptoms, failing to address the cause of the problem.
An estimated 66% to 70% of those suffering from whiplash complain of headaches. The pain may be on one side or both, on- again/-off again or constant, in one location or more diffuse. These headaches, like neck pain, are often the result of tightened, tensed muscles trying to keep the head stable and, like tension headaches, they are often felt behind the eyes.
Shoulder pain, often described as pain radiating down the back of the neck into the shoulder blade area, also may be the result of tensed muscles. Muscle tears often are described as burning, prickling or tingling pain. More severe disc damage may cause sharp pain with certain movements which are relieved by holding your hand over your head.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have a whiplash injury that, if left untreated, can cause far more serious problems months or years later.
The Quebec Automobile Insurance Society recently released an exhaustive study of more than 10,382 articles on neck injuries and concluded most interventions for whiplash injury were proven, including soft cervical collars and corticosteroid injections. Yet they recommended spinal manipulation as being clearly effective. So if you suspect you have a whiplash injury, and/or have been involved in an automobile accident, or if you are having neck pain for some other reason our office is ready to help you with all of the paperwork, including helping you to get a claim number established and billing the insurance carrier. At the Chiropractic and Rehabilitation of South Florida we’ll help guide you through the red tape, so that you can focus on getting better.
Stephen M. Foreman and Arthur C. Croft, Whiplash Injuries: The Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, 1988 Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, Ibid, p. 287 Ibid, p. 289.
Quebec Task Force Rewrites Whiplash Protocols, June 5, 1995, Dynamic Chiropractic, Vol. 13, No. 12, p. 28