St. Petersburg Whiplash Injury Doctor
You may assume you got out of an auto accident unscathed, but within a day or two, your neck starts hurting and neck mobility is compromised. If so, it is likely you are a victim of whiplash, a type of neck sprain or strain often occurring in drivers or passengers in a rear-ended vehicle.
While most whiplash patients recover within a few months, for some people, the condition becomes chronic. If you are experiencing any symptoms of whiplash, it is important for you to seek treatment options with the help of a skilled doctor‘s advice as soon as possible. A St. Petersburg whiplash injury doctor can make a diagnosis and offer options to help you recover.
Whiplash occurs when the neck moves forward and backward vigorously and unexpectedly. The technical terms are hyperextension and hyperflexion. The action, similar to that of cracking a whip, may harm the muscles, ligaments and nerves or discs in the neck. The neck contains seven bones making up the cervical spine. The cervical spine is responsible for full support of the head. Any sudden movement of these bones can impact the nerves in the area.
While rear-ended motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of whiplash, any action resulting in violent shaking of the head can result in this injury. Sports injuries – especially contact sports – rollercoasters, and other very fast amusement park rides can cause whiplash, as can falls or various types of assault involving the head and neck.
While people wearing seatbelts in rear-end auto accidents more often suffer from whiplash, the seatbelt helps save drivers and passengers from more serious injuries, or even death.
Neck pain, stiffness, and mobility issues are not the only symptoms of whiplash. Other symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Upper back pain
- Arm pain
- Shoulder pain
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
Females are more prone to whiplash than males. People with pre-existing neck or back issues are more likely to experience whiplash in certain types of accidents or activities. Individuals with poor posture may also have more pain associated with the condition.
How a St. Petersburg Whiplash Injury Doctor Can Help
A doctor performs a medical examination and also takes a complete description of the accident causing the pain. Since soft tissue injuries are not visible on X-rays, diagnostic procedures may include CT scans or MRIs.
Treatment depends on severity of pain and the patient’s overall medical history. Many patients respond well to conservative therapy, including special exercises prescribed by the doctor to restore neck mobility. Over-the-counter pain relief – such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) naproxen or ibuprofen – suffice for many patients.
The doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants for patients dealing with serious neck mobility problems. Some patients may benefit from temporary wearing of a soft neck collar, and/or ice and heat therapies. Whiplash may result in a herniated disc. If symptoms do not improve within several months, further testing is necessary. In some cases, long-term steroid injections may alleviate pain. In other cases, minimally invasive surgery to repair the herniated disk is needed. Patients spend less time in the hospital and recover more quickly from minimally invasive surgery compared to standard surgeries.
Contacting a St. Petersburg Doctor
If you suspect you have whiplash after an injury, or if you have been involved in an automobile accident, call a St. Petersburg whiplash injury doctor and arrange for an examination.