Dunedin Whiplash Injury Doctor
Whiplash is one of those conditions that many people do not take as seriously as they should – until they or a loved one are involved in an incident resulting in whiplash.
While most whiplash victims recover within several weeks, for some people the pain and debilitation does not let up and becomes chronic. A Dunedin whiplash injury doctor can help ease your neck pain and set you on the road to recovery. Contact a skilled doctor today to schedule a consultation to discuss diagnosis and treatment.
Neck Strain or Sprain
Whiplash is not a medical term. What lay people refer to as “whiplash” is actually a neck sprain or strain. A neck sprain involves damage to the ligaments, while a neck strain affects the muscles or tendons.
The term originated because the violent movement of the head and neck during the incident causing the damage resembles the lashing of a whip.
The severity of the sudden movement may also affect the patient’s nerves, joints and intervertebral disks, causing pain beyond neck strain or sprain.
Victims of a rear-ended, slow motion motor vehicle accident are the classic whiplash patients. Many people with whiplash think they got away from the accident unscathed, but the pain may not kick in for 24 to 48 hours after the collision.
While rear-end car accidents are a primary cause of whiplash, they are far from the only ones. Any action resulting in such violent head movement may cause whiplash. Other common causes include:
- Amusement park rides – especially rollercoasters
- Fights – when one individual is punched or otherwise struck in the head
- Prior neck injuries
- Sports injuries – generally contact sport, such as hockey or football.
Neck pain and swelling are not the only symptoms of whiplash. Other frequent symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
- Back, shoulder or arm pain
- Cognitive disorders
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
Some people may experience anxiety or depression related to their whiplash injury.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A Dunedin whiplash injury doctor conducts a thorough physical examination as well as a complete medical history and the circumstances of the accident. The doctor makes a patient assessment by asking the person to move and perform some basic tasks. Diagnostic tests may include:
- CAT scans
Many whiplash patients do well with conservative treatment, including a doctor-recommended exercise and stretching regimen to improve neck strength. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) help to relieve pain and inflammation. If a patient experiences severe pain, the doctor may prescribe stronger pain relief on a short-term basis. If necessary, the doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants, antidepressants or sleeping aids for the patient’s symptoms.
Foam cervical collars are not as widely used in whiplash cases as in the past, but wearing them while in bed may help some patients sleep. If a patient does not respond to conservative treatment, the doctor may inject steroids into the affected areas for long-term pain relief. A targeted, custom-designed physical therapy program can help a patient improve range of motion.
Consulting a Dunedin Whiplash Injury Doctor
If you were rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident or suffered another sort of injury resulting in whiplash symptoms, call our Dunedin office today and arrange for a consultation.