Automobile accidents can be traumatizing, but the different costs and injuries that occur due to these accidents can be challenging, too. Considering an estimated 1 million people suffer from whiplash every year, understanding this common neck injury is key if you were recently involved in an accident. Unfortunately, many cases of whiplash go undiagnosed, since physical symptoms are not always noted immediately after the accident. While you may feel physically fine after the accident, visiting a doctor immediately is smart. Using this guide, you will understand the importance of immediate care to diagnose and treat a possible case of whiplash.
How Whiplash Occurs
During an accident, the force of impact can cause your head to move forward and back quickly. This strong, excessive motion places pressure on the head, neck, shoulders, and back, creating tension and possible tears in the ligaments of the neck. Known as whiplash, the condition can be painful immediately after your accident or develop later on in your recovery.
Symptoms of Whiplash
If you experience the following immediately or within a few days or weeks after an accident, you may have whiplash:
- Stiffness, Soreness, and Pain in the Neck
- Blurred Vision, Dizziness
- Tinnitus, or Ringing in the Ears
- Memory and Focus Issues
Without proper treatment, the damaged ligaments may tear, resulting in serious, chronic pain. This pain can limit your mobility and even increase your risk of depression, which will all decrease your quality of life.
Urgent care doctors will take a series of x-rays to determine if you have a neck injury. In most cases, you will need to wear a neck brace, which will prevent movement of your neck, reducing your risk of further strain and injuries.
Prescription medications may be used to reduce pain, but managing chronic pain will require therapy and other holistic approaches.
A spinal manipulation by a licensed chiropractor is a common and effective treatment for whiplash. During this procedure, the chiropractor uses their body weight to move the neck into a more aligned position with the spine and head. While this may seem like a painful procedure, spinal manipulations offer a non-toxic, non-invasive option for relieving the tension and pain associated with your neck injury.
Unfortunately, many people involved in automobile accidents forego visits to the emergency room for testing. Without early diagnosis and treatment, whiplash can lead to ongoing pain and a reduction in your mobility. Using this guide and the help of a doctor directly after an accident, you can diagnose a possible neck injury quickly and effectively. If you've recently been in an accident, contact an urgent care center like Alaska Urgent Care LLC to receive treatment.