Whiplash is a relatively common acute pain injury that can affect a person’s neck, shoulders, and upper back. As many as 2 million people are suspected to get whiplash every year in the United States, though it’s possible that even more go undiagnosed.
Our pain management doctors of Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, and Cleburne, TX find that many people don’t realize just how nuanced whiplash can be. Fortunately, most cases of whiplash respond well to treatments including chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Whiplash is a syndrome caused by sudden and rapid flexion and extension of the neck. It typically happens when a restrained driver or passenger is involved in a car accident. Their bodies stay with the car, but due to kinetic energy, their head continues to move forward–that is until their seatbelt and neck range of motion holds them back. The head will then “snap” back and forth. This can impose a lot of strain, inflammation, and tissue damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, bones, and joints within the neck and shoulders.
People who are older are more likely to suffer from whiplash because their bodies are generally stiffer and less pliable to begin with. Whiplash can occur for a variety of reasons, however auto accidents are the most common. That said, even small fender benders with cars moving as slow as 10 mph can lead to whiplash.
One of the key symptoms of whiplash is neck pain and stiffness. Not everyone experiencing these symptoms have whiplash, so understanding the mechanism of injury and patient history is key in determining an accurate diagnosis and guiding treatment.
Additional whiplash symptoms include:
Some cases of whiplash are quite mild and may resolve themselves within a few days to a few weeks. In other cases, whiplash symptoms may stick around for as long as 6 months or more.
To schedule an appointment, call our Health First Injury & Pain Centers today. We also proudly accept same-day and walk-in appointments.
Struggling with an urgent pain condition? Call us at 817-926-5800.