Whiplash is a sprain or strain of the neck due to it being suddenly or forcibly jerked backward and forward. It is one of the most common types of injuries sustained in car accidents.
The symptoms associated with whiplash may not appear until hours or days after the incident. It’s important to keep an eye out for whiplash symptoms a few days after an accident so you know when to seek medical attention.
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Neck Pain – Neck pain that happens when you move your neck in any direction
- Neck Stiffness – If you have trouble moving your neck with ease or if you notice you have less range of motion when moving the neck
- Back Pain – Back pain (even in the lower back) may indicate whiplash because the jerking may have caused trauma to travel from the neck to the back
- Shoulder Pain – The shoulder blades are very close to the neck and after a severe jerking motion, you may experience pain in the shoulders or right below the neck
- Headaches – Whiplash can also affect the head and cause unexplained headaches
- Fogginess or Dizziness – Whiplash can also cause dizziness or brain fog that can lead to memory problems or difficulty concentrating.
Minimizing the Whiplash Effect
While it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t ever get into an accident, there are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of whiplash should you get into a car accident. Here are some tips:
- Make Good Posture a Priority – Posture is very important to back health but it’s also important to minimizing the effects of whiplash. In the car, the headrest directly behind your head offers protection against whiplash. If you slouch, you’ll miss out on this critical cushioning. Always sit up straight in the car, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
- Position Your Headrest – These small cushions at the top of car seats are not only for resting your head to take a quick nap in the car. They have a purpose: to protect your head against the whiplash effect in case of an accident. Make sure to make whatever adjustments are necessary so that it is directly behind your head. Make sure it’s not too high or too low.
- Strengthen Your Core – Keeping fit and healthy can strengthen muscles and bones. People with weak bones or muscles are more prone to greater injuries in accidents. Talk to your doctor about what kind of exercise regimen is perfect for your age, health, medical conditions, and preferences. Everyone can do some form of fitness exercise to strengthen their bodies.
- Always Wear a Seat Belt – A seat belt is your best bet to protect you from the harmful effects of whiplash in the event of a car crash. The belt holds your body in place and if you jerk forward and backward in the case of an accident, it significantly reduces the extent of that movement. You should always wear a seatbelt, whether you are driving or a passenger.
If you suspect you have experienced whiplash, it’s time to talk to a medical professional who is trained to treat it. The experts at Star Spine & Sport are trained and experienced in treating conditions like whiplash and would love to help relieve your pain symptoms. Call (303) 238-4277 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.