Wesley Chapel Whiplash Injury Doctor
If you were rear-ended in a car accident and walked away unscathed, you may have thought no injury occurred. Then, within 24 to 48 hours after the accident, your neck hurts and becomes stiff.
This is the classic example of whiplash. It is important to see a skilled doctor as soon as possible after such an event, even if your neck does not hurt.
If you are experiencing pain from whiplash, a Wesley Chapel whiplash injury doctor can help relieve your symptoms. Most whiplash victims recover within a few weeks, but for some people, the condition becomes chronic.
Neck Strain or Sprain
Whiplash is not an official medical term. “Whiplash” actually consists of a neck strain or sprain, the former involving the tearing or stretching of tendons or muscles and the latte the tearing or stretching of ligaments.
The term “whiplash” originates from the rapid, back and forth motion of the head and neck during the incident, similar to a whip’s lashing.
Causes of Whiplash
While individuals rear-ended in motor vehicles constitute the most common whiplash patients, they are far from the only whiplash victims. Any action resulting in that rapid, back and forth head and neck motion can suffer from whiplash. Other common causes of whiplash include:
- Amusement park rides
- Assault – blows to the head
- Sports injuries – especially contact sports.
Anyone who has previously suffered a neck injury is at greater risk of developing whiplash when the head and neck experience this type of unexpected movement.
Just as whiplash causes go beyond rear-ended car accidents, whiplash symptoms extend beyond neck pain and stiffness. Other whiplash symptoms include:
- Arm and/or shoulder pain
- Arm and/or shoulder pain
- Cognitive issues
- Jaw pain
- Lower back pain
- Memory problems
- Swallowing difficulties
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
This wide range of symptoms can greatly affect a person’s life. In some cases, they may not be able to work, or perform routine tasks.
How a Wesley Chapel Whiplash Injury Doctor Can Help
A Wesley Chapel whiplash injury doctor performs a thorough examination and takes a detailed medical history to diagnose and treat a patient. Whiplash affects the soft tissues, but an X-ray may remain necessary to rule out a fracture. The doctor may order an MRI or CAT scan to view the neck strain or sprain and make a definite diagnosis.
Most whiplash patients respond to conservative treatment. That includes the use of over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories, as well as neck exercises and stretching. Massage and heat and cold therapy often prove beneficial.
If the patient is depressed or anxious, the doctor may prescribe suitable medications for relief. Muscle relaxants prescribed by the doctor also relieve pain temporarily. If sleep is an issue because of whiplash, the doctor may recommend or prescribe sleeping aids. If the patient is still in pain because of whiplash three months after the accident, further treatment is needed. This may include more formal physical therapy, along with steroid injections into the neck for long-term pain relief.
If you suspect you have whiplash, or if you are the victim of a rear-end motor vehicle accident, call a Wesley Chapel whiplash injury doctor today to make an appointment for a consultation.