If you have ever been in a car accident, even one as minor as a fender bender, you may have experienced a sore neck or back a few days later. Chances are you knew that you had whiplash, but do you know what the condition actually is?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a “neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” It is sometimes considered to be a sprain or strain of the neck, but it can result in long-term problems if not treated properly.
What causes whiplash?
This type of injury is almost always caused by a rear-end car crash, but it can result from other types as well. Generally, if the head or neck moves back and forth in any direction quickly, whiplash may result. Falls, sports injuries and physical abuse may also cause whiplash.
What are the symptoms?
Some of the common symptoms of whiplash to look out for are:
- Pain that increases with neck movement
- Headaches in the base of the skull
- Pain in the upper arms, back or shoulders
- Arm numbness
These symptoms usually show up within a day or two of an accident.
How is it treated?
Those who seek treatment for whiplash may receive require over-the-counter pain medication and instructions to rest at home. More serious cases may require prescription-strength medication, muscle injections and physical therapy to heal.
If you think you may have whiplash, it is important to visit a medical professional who can help you determine the right course of treatment so you can get back to health and everyday life without pain.