Whiplash is another name for neck sprain or neck strain, caused by sudden back-and-forth neck movement with great force. Usually, this type of injury gets healed in a period of 2 to 3 months. Whiplash (or a minor neck injury) may happen at the time of a car accident or a bender-fender.
During a car crash or accident, whether you have worn a seatbelt or not, you can experience whiplash. The sudden brutal force pushes your head backward and forwards causing stretches or tears in your neck muscles or tendons. Even if the vehicle stops suddenly, whiplash conditions may take place.
A sports injury can also be the reason for whiplash. Many whiplash injuries have been reported in sports like soccer, basketball, or wrestling. Every year more than 2 million people go through whiplash injuries in the United States and the most common reason is rear-end car accidents. It may seem like a minor occurrence at first but later can become a serious issue.
Initially, it is hard to recognize just after the accident because the body goes into a state of shock and or distress due to which adrenaline kicks in and pain can not be felt immediately In subsequent days or on the same day, you may start seeing the symptoms. Quickly, check with your doctor for any major injury. Specialty Care Clinics treat patients that got into car accidents and have minor injuries and bruises.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF WHIPLASH GOES UNTREATED?
Untreated whiplash can become a serious health issue if left untreated. It does not concern, whether you got injured from a car accident, sports injury, or any physical trauma. It is advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible otherwise you can also develop the following health conditions :
- Chronic neck pain
Trauma to the neck and surrounding region leads to inflammation due to whiplash. It is hard to predict how long it will take to recover from whiplash effects. You may likely develop chronic pain if your initial symptoms were intense, started rapidly, and included severe neck pain. Without treatment, it can resurface repeatedly and impact your daily life routine and quality of life.
- Issues during mobilization
Mobility issue is one of the most common long-term negative impact caused by untreated whiplash. The neck is responsible for head movements and plays a crucial role in maintaining balance. Car injury or other injuries can cause inflammation and swelling in the affected area that may reduce the range of motion. However, the residual symptoms of whiplash do not cause this much effect on mobility or functionality that may lead to disability. But, still, you can try physical therapy at Specialty Care Clinics, if your symptoms get worse.
- Headaches and fatigue
Untreated whiplash can lead to cardiogenic headaches i.e headaches originating from the neck, fatigue, and usual tiredness that affects the whole body. The occurrence of this type of pain starts through the injured area and travels to other parts. The pain can flair up during the weeks following the injury. Typically, a whiplash headache causes pain in the back of the head where the head meets the neck. Then this pain can travel to the top of the head, front of the head, and down the neck. These headaches can be irregular or constant.
- Spinal problems
The neck is connected to the spine or is a part of the cervical spine (neck region). The cervical spine consists of C1-C7 vertebrae which are separated by each other through intervertebral discs. Whiplash overstretches the C1 and C2 vertebrae which creates implications for posture, spinal nerves, and nerve system.
- Degenerated disc disease
In studies, it was found that whiplash injuries can accelerate the process of disc degeneration. It is a condition where discs between vertebrae deteriorate over a time period. These discs enable the body to move freely. Untreated whiplash dysfunctions the muscles in the upper neck causing unnecessary stress on spinal discs that further causes:- pain, numbness, nerve irritation, reduced range of motions, susceptibility to injuries, and flaring up of pain.
Not treating whiplash can sometimes result in frequent episodes of vertigo and dizziness. This condition also makes a person prone to other injuries and reduces the quality of life.
If you recently got into a car accident or suffered from a sports injury in the neck, then the whiplash symptoms may take some time to appear. Check with your doctor for possible whiplash injuries.