Whiplash Injury Treatment After a Car Accident
The name “whiplash” is no accident, although it’s often caused by one. Imagine the motion of somebody cracking a whip; they raise their arm high then bring it forward in a sharp surge, moving it as fast as they can while keeping their body still. Next, they halt the act as abruptly as they can. The sudden cessation of velocity causes – CRACK!!! – the whip to make its sharp, angry noise.
In a whiplash injury, the neck is travelling forwards at dangerously fast speeds, while the body is not. The neck surges, and if the motion is halted abruptly, the neck absorbs that sharp, angry interruption. This is not a sequence of events the body is well adapted to accommodate, so injury often results.
Why the “Car” Connection?
Whiplash, then, is a soft tissue injury of the neck. The sequence of events described above occurs most commonly during rear-end automobile collisions, and they do not have to be high-speed collisions to cause injury.
The head suddenly moves backward, then forward, then snaps to a halt as your seatbelt stops your torso’s movement. This is an extreme range of motions, taking place unexpectedly and in a very short space of time.
Types and Treatments
As with all injuries, severity is determined by a combination of factors; angle of impact, speed of collision and your overall health prior to the event all have repercussions. Thus, whiplash injuries range from mild to severe.
Most people find the pain and inconveniences associated with whiplash injuries disappear after a few weeks, but others develop chronic – ongoing, even worsening – pain. Treatment at the more temperate end of the scale can be as simple as taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and applying ice packs to neck muscles where pain is most noticeable.
Even in situations such as these, though, at least one whiplash injury treatment consultation with a skilled and experienced medical professional is advised. The neck is an extremely complex, and in some ways delicate, composite structure; its proper, healthy function cannot be overstressed. It accommodates all the nerves that allow interaction between the brain and the rest of the body, both receiving and transmitting vital information every second of your life.
Any injury, or suspected injury, demands that you discuss the injuring event, and its effects, with an expert. If you do not feel your symptoms require treatment in an emergency room, seek out a chiropractor at your first opportunity.
First aid is usually not enough. For people whose pain persists, physical therapy and – often – prescription medications prove helpful. Treatment typically adopts these protocols:
- Cervical collar. Also called a neck brace, this orthopedic medical device is the same as is used by EMTs to deal with traumatic head or neck injuries, including cervical fractures. The collar prevents unintended (and sometimes intentional) movement, giving damaged tissue an increased opportunity to heal.
- Muscle relaxants. These prescription-only sedative drugs impact skeletal muscle function, artificially decreasing muscle tone to alleviate symptoms such as muscle spasms as well as pain.
- Exercise. Typically some combination of chin tucks, side-to-side head rotation, and side bending, should – like all exercise – only be undertaken following medical consultation.
- Physical therapy. A full evaluation will be followed by a range of motion exercises and/or heat, ultrasound, and massage treatments.
Whiplash Injury Treatment After A Car Accident
Call or email Chiro-Med Rehab Centre to schedule your free whiplash injury treatment consultation. We treat men, women, and children of all ages who work or live in Toronto and the surrounding areas.