Whiplash - Carrollton, TX
Whiplash is the other name for neck strain. It happens when the head is forced to move backwards and forward suddenly. This causes strain on the muscles or tendons that stabilize the neck. Whiplash injuries may take a few days to a few weeks to recover depending on the cause and severity of injury. Whiplash injury may also cause damage to the nerves, intervertebral discs and soft tissues in the neck.

Causes

  • Vehicular accidents that may jerk the neck with a strong force and cause strain
  • Shaking the babies vigorously can cause strain in their neck especially because their spine is delicate and still in the formative stage
  • Sports that involve a tackle or a collision such as soccer, wrestling, football may case neck strains
  • Physical assault on a person may be a causative factor

Symptoms

  • Pain is felt when the head is bent forward or backwards or when the neck is rotated. The pain can set in immediately after the injury or may take a couple of hours to be felt
  • Some patient complain of headaches that tend to diffuse towards the forehead from the base of the skull
  • Stiffness and tenderness is felt in the neck, shoulders and upper thoracic region of the spine
  • The muscles in the neck may feel clotted or hard
  • Decrease in range of motion
  • In severe injuries concussions may occur and the patient may also feel dizzy, nausea or may lose control
  • Tinnitus- a ringing sensation in the ears
  • Numbness or pricks may be felt in the hands and arms

Diagnosis

  • Analysis of the details of the time and mode of injury
  • The patient’s neck, arms, shoulders are checked and the doctor may also test the reflexes to assess if there is any loss of sensation or coordination
  • X-ray examination to check for damage to the bone structure
  • CT scans or MRI may be required to check for damage to the nerve endings, blood vessels and the tendons

Treatment

  • Use of ice packs on the neck may reduce swelling and pain
  • Pain killers and anti inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by the doctor
  • Use of a neck collar may be helpful in supporting the sore neck but it should be worn for a short duration to avoid stiffness
  • Heat therapy can be used after ice therapy has been done by placing warm wet towels on the neck
  • Rest is recommended for the first 24 hours to allow the tissues in the neck to heal
  • Prescription of muscle relaxants