If you recently had a car accident or have had one in the past there is a good chance you’ve had some type of injury. Besides the pain you may be scared to get in the car again, have anxiety, and confused about going to your MD, the hospital, or seeing a chiropractor. At the hospital or your doctor you will hopefully get examined and x-rayed. If there are no broken bones you will probably get a prescription for muscle relaxants and painkiller and sent home even if you are in severe pain. This unfortunately is the standard of care following most car accidents. If you have sustained a whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain here are some important things you should know about this common injury.
How Whiplash Happens
A whiplash is caused with the sudden backward movement (extension) and forward movement (flexion) of the neck or upper back, which can cause the joints of the neck to be injured. This type of injury can also cause the muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back to be over-stretched. When the ligaments and muscles become over-stretched this will lead to the formation of what we call “scar tissue”. No medication in the world can get rid of scar tissue! The primary symptom of whiplash is neck or upper back pain. The pain can start immediately or develop days, weeks, or sometimes even months or years later. Symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Some may only suffer minor discomfort while others experience one or more of the following:
- Tightness or spasms of the muscles the neck or upper back
- Pain with movement of the neck, headache and dizziness (symptoms of a concussion)
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing and hoarseness (could indicate injury to the esophagus and larynx)
- Abnormal sensations such as burning or tingling
- Shoulder pain
- Upper back pain
*Even “fender-benders” can cause hidden injuries. Even worse, most people who have been involved in an auto accident may not even know that they’ve been hurt.
How Whiplash is Diagnosed
Even if your neck pain is only mild, you should be examined by a health professional as soon as possible. X-rays may be done to rule out any bone fractures. An MRI may also be done if there is concern you have a herniated disc or significant ligament injury. These tests are better able to identify soft tissue injuries than plain x-rays.
How We Care for a “Whiplash” in Our Office
Instead of giving painkillers to mask the pain from these injuries, our approach to these types of injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustments via a specialized instrument (no neck twisting) to help return spinal function. After a thorough case history and examination, the doctor will recommend any necessary care to help restore proper motion and position of spinal bones. This usually involves yoga based mobility exercise, isometric exercises, and other mobility centered exercises. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.
About Your Auto Insurance
After an accident you may be in shock and/or severe pain. Most people have no idea what to do first, whom to call, who’s responsible for damages or injury, do I need an attorney, etc.….
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t worry we will explain everything to you and guide you through the process. We will not only make the process as easy as possible, but also provide you with the best care possible as soon as possible.
Florida is considered a “no-fault” state. This means that ALL drivers are required to carry their own personal injury insurance or “PIP”. This means that regardless of who is at fault you may have coverage to treat injuries that are a result of the accident.
Please keep in mind the PIP law (HB-119) states that you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of injury to utilize your insurance benefits.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact our office.