Tampa Bay Whiplash Injury Doctor
Whiplash is sometimes not taken as seriously by non-victims as it deserves to be. While it is true that most whiplash victims recover within a few weeks or months of the accident, that is not the case for everyone. For some people, the pain and lack of mobility from whiplash becomes chronic. It is important to visit a whiplash injury doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
You may feel fine, other than being a little shaken up after a car accident, but whiplash symptoms typically do not immediately make themselves known. It may take up to 48 hours of more after your literal shake-up for whiplash symptoms to become apparent. It is important if you are feeling any of these symptoms, you contact a whiplash injury doctor right away. A skilled doctor can help provide you options of treatment.
There is no actual disorder called whiplash. It is a non-medical term used to describe a neck sprain or strain. Visualize whiplash as the cracking of a whip, although the fierce, back and forth movement concerns the neck. This hyperflexion or hyperextension of the neck may involve ligaments, muscles, nerves, or disks.
Whiplash is synonymous with neck pain, but its symptoms go far beyond neck pain and stiffness. Other common whiplash symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Back pain – upper or lower
- Limited range of motion
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
The classic whiplash injury occurs to the driver or passengers in a rear-ended vehicle. Collisions at even low speeds can cause severe whiplash, and the vehicle itself may not appear seriously damaged. However, any sort of sudden, unexpected, violent movement to the neck and head can result in whiplash.
Other common causes include sports injuries, especially contact sports such as football or hockey. Falls account for a fair percentage of whiplash cases, as does physical assault.
Shaking or a punch to the head is exactly the kind of unexpected force contributing to whiplash injuries. Then there are amusement park rides, specifically roller coasters.
Although anyone can develop whiplash, women are more vulnerable than men, as are older individuals. Anyone with a pre-existing neck condition is at greater risk for injury. A person with a prior whiplash injury is especially at risk in case of a subsequent accident.
How a Whiplash Doctor Can Help
Most whiplash patients respond well to conservative treatment. This includes regularly performing neck exercises prescribed by the doctor or other types of physical therapy. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are generally sufficient for pain relief.
Some patients may require short-term use of muscle relaxants or medication to help with sleep. Temporary use of a soft cervical collar may benefit some patients.
If whiplash pain persists for more than six months, it is considered chronic. The doctor will have the patient undergo further testing to pinpoint the cause of pain. The patient may receive nerve block injections for long-term pain reduction. In other cases, minimally invasive surgery on the disc or another problem area may result in symptom relief. Patients undergoing such surgeries heal more rapidly and experience fewer side effects than with conventional surgery. Less time is spent in the hospital and less post-surgical pain medication is needed.
Contact a Whiplash Injury Doctor Today
If you have been in a car accident or suffered another type of neck hyperextension or hyperflexion injury, call a whiplash injury doctor today and make an appointment for an examination.