New Port Richey Whiplash Injury Doctor
If you were rear-ended in a car accident, you may have initially thought you dodged serious injury. You were able to walk away from the collision feeling little or no pain. Then, within 48 hours, your neck hurts and you may experience related discomfort.
It is likely you are suffering from whiplash, which is not a formal medical term but refers to a neck strain or sprain.
Most people recover from whiplash within a few weeks, but for some individuals, the pain becomes chronic. A New Port Richey whiplash injury doctor can help ease your symptoms and provide ways to deal with whiplash pain. Contact a skilled doctor right away to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.
The classic case of whiplash occurs to occupants of a rear-ended vehicle in a low-speed crash. The name refers to a violent, back and forth action of the head and neck, much like the lashing of a whip. However, other types of accidents can result in whiplash. These include:
- Assault – the victim’s head is shaken or hit
- Sports injuries – notably hockey and football
- Amusement park rides – although designed for entertainment, high-speed roller coasters and similar rides can cause whiplash
People with prior neck injuries are more vulnerable to developing whiplash.
While neck pain and stiffness are symptoms indicative of whiplash, they are far from the only issues a patient with whiplash might experience. Because the neck contains muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves – along with vertebrae and their disks – a whiplash injury can affect areas far beyond the head and neck. Cognitive and emotional problems are often whiplash-related. Other common symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
- Back, shoulder or arm pain
- Memory difficulties
How a New Port Richey Whiplash Injury Doctor Can Help
The doctor conducts a thorough physical examination and asks patients to perform normal tasks as part of the evaluation. Diagnostic testing for whiplash may include:
- CAT scans
Most patients respond to conservative treatment, which involves the use of heat or ice therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the relief of pain and inflammation and physical therapy. Muscle relaxants may alleviate muscle pain and stiffness. The doctor may prescribe sleep medications for patients dealing with whiplash-related insomnia or anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs for individuals facing these issues. If needed, the patient may wear a foam cervical collar at night to help them sleep. It is essential that a patient follows the exercises recommended by the doctor to strengthen neck muscles and restore range of motion. Not only will such exercises help a patient’s current condition, but may prevent a recurrence of neck pain since those with whiplash are prone to future neck pain episodes.
If NSAIDs do not offer sufficient pain relief so that the patient can perform these important exercises, the doctor may inject medication to ease pain into the affected areas. In rare cases, surgery is necessary for long-term whiplash pain relief. That usually happens only in situations where the injury results in serious spinal damage.
If you have been in a car accident or otherwise suffered a whiplash injury, call a New Port Richey whiplash injury doctor today to schedule a consultation.