If you were recently in an automobile accident, there is a chance that the accident left you with underlying health issues that can worsen over time. These may include fatal injuries like herniated discs, dislocation of joints, and fractures. However, some people confuse these injuries as sprains and disregard the signs and symptoms. This negligence can come back to trouble you, as Whiplash is most often a long-term complication that can worsen if left untreated.
What leads to automobile accidents?
Unfortunately, most people do not follow traffic laws, leading to severe accidents and injuries. A few causes of car accidents are listed below.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs
The driver has sensory suppression, potentially making them lose control behind the wheel.
Anyone who drives carelessly, without abiding by the traffic rules, puts the lives of multiple people at risk.
Going at higher speeds reduces a person’s reaction time, increasing the probability of a car crash.
Most people show their carelessness by indulging in various activities, such as using their phones, calling/texting other people, eating and drinking while driving, and diverting their attention from the road.
Rain, to be particular, is the biggest offender here. Water makes roads slippery, causing automobiles to slip and skid without notice leading to multiple fatal road accidents.
Injuries caused by road accidents
Accidents can lead to different types of injuries and complications, depending on the severity and impact of the crash. Some of these conditions are as follows.
- Whiplash injury
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord paralysis
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated disc
- Knee trauma
- Thoracic spine injury
- Broken bones and ribs
- Cuts and road rash
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Limb loss and amputation
- Back injuries
What is a Whiplash injury?
It is an injury caused by any impact or blow that causes your neck to jerk in the backward or forward direction. It refers to neck strain. However, neck strains are often confused with neck sprains, although they are a bit different. Damage to the muscle or the tendons can cause neck strain. Neck sprains are caused by tearing of the ligaments, the tissues that connect the bones.
Causes of Whiplash injury
It can occur from various factors listed below.
- Rear-end car accidents.
- Sports injury occurring during games like football
- Physical trauma, for example, a fall.
- Physical abuse such as being punched or shaken.
However, car accidents are the leading cause of whiplash injuries all over the world.
Events that occur in whiplash injury during a car accident
- When a car gets hit from behind, the seat pushes against the back. The cervical spine is compressed upward against the head, putting strain on the spinal cord.
- The body keeps moving forward, while the head does not. Hence, the spinal cord becomes S in shape instead of a C.
- The head strikes against the seat, while the neck immediately stretches backward, soft tissues near the front neck are likely to be harmed.
- The head accelerates in a forward direction. As the head jerks forward, the seatbelt holds back the torso, the neck quickly bends, leading to a whiplash (neck strain).
What are the symptoms of Whiplash?
The pain is often hard to ignore. Sometimes, the pain of a neck strain is immediate. In other cases, it can take several hours or days before symptoms appear. For identifying this condition, listed below are a few symptoms that you should check.
- Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel thick or tied.
- Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward.
- Excessively fatigued.
- Tenderness occurs in the shoulder, upper back, and arms.
- Blurred vision.
- People experience headaches at the base of the skull that radiates towards the forehead.
- Constant weariness.
Other less common symptoms are as follows.
- Ringing sensation in ears.
- Problems with memory and concentration.
- Inability to sleep properly.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above after an accident, the best option is to visit a car accident clinic nearest to your home.
What is a car accident clinic?
An auto-injury clinic is a medical facility that specializes in treating injuries that include herniated discs, broken bones, cuts, and Whiplash injuries. It consists of medical staff trained in this field.
Diagnosis of Whiplash
Healthcare providers usually diagnose Whiplash by asking you the particulars of the injury and your daily life activities, such as household chores and stresses in life that may have led to it. This verbal conversation can help the doctor in determining the severity of the signs and symptoms. You will have to move around and do some physical activities to determine whether or not your joints and muscles are functioning without any problems. These assessments include:
- The doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting any movement that causes you pain.
- Degree of locomotion in shoulder and joints.
- Your doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm.
- Limb strength and sensitivity.
For further evaluation, additional tests may be necessary to find the complications. These tests are listed below.
- X-Ray – It creates pictures of the inside of your body in black and white colors. Its typical use is to look at joints and bones to check for conditions like bone fractures.
- CT scan – A computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from various angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside your body. It can diagnose bone and joint problems.
- MRI – A medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in your body. It can diagnose various conditions, such as torn ligaments and tumors.
Treatment of Whiplash
The treatment aims to reduce pain, restore the normal range of motion, and get back to your normal activates. Treating Whiplash is not that hard if it is diagnosed on time before the symptoms worsen. For improvement, you should follow the steps given below.
- Ice your neck to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you can after the injury.
- Take pain killers recommended by your doctors. These include medicines like Aspirin, Tylenol, and Panadol.
- Use a neck base or collar for support.
- Apply moist heat to your neck after 2-3 days of icing it.
- Practice physical therapy recommended by the doctor.
- Your doctor will tell you various exercises like tilting your head side to side to increase motility of the neck, bending your neck towards your chest, rolling your shoulders, and chin tucks to stretch the muscles in the cervical spine. Perform these activities promptly under supervision.
- Use muscle relaxants to reduce muscle pain and loosen muscles.
- Massage may also help.
- You can also visit a chiropractor who adjusts your spine and other body parts without surgery to relieve pain.
Regardless of the type of incident, a whiplash injury can leave your body in a poor state. Reasonably so, getting timely treatment is a necessity. However, avoiding risky situations to prevent such injuries from occurring is the best choice.