The cracking of a whip, when done correctly, gets attention. When that motion is applied to your head and neck, it can result in pain and stiffness. Headaches are also common with this type of injury. Rear-end auto accidents are the cause of most whiplash injuries, but not the only cause. Any type of trauma with a rapid back and forth movement of the head and neck can cause whiplash.
Causes of Whiplash
Auto accidents are top on the list but there are other causes also:
- Contact sports, especially with football, boxing and karate
- Physical abuse when a person is punched or shaken
- Horseback riding
- Falls that cause the head to jerk back violently
- Cycling accidents
- A blow to the head
The resulting pain may last a few weeks, or in some cases it can become a chronic condition along with other long-term complications.
There are several symptoms that may present after a whiplash injury. You may experience all of these or only a few:
- Stiffness and pain in the neck
- Headaches at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in shoulders, upper back or arms
- Tingling in the arms
- Limited range of motion in neck
- Increasing pain with neck movement
Symptoms of whiplash will begin to develop within the first 24 hours of the injury; however, they could develop well after this time. It is always best to seek medical attention promptly to prevent complications from developing.
Whiplash affects the muscles and ligaments in the neck. The injury can also impact the vertebrae in the spine, spinal discs, nerves and soft tissues of the neck. When the injury is severe, there is also the possibility of concussion. Early diagnosis and treatment of whiplash injury increases the probability of a faster recovery.
Rehabilitation for musculoskeletal and soft tissue injury involves diagnosing the extent of the injury and a thorough examination to identify any additional injuries. Your doctor should discuss a proposed treatment plan with you and establish recovery goals. A customized treatment plan can ensure that you will have the best chance for optimal recovery from your injury.
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