Atlanta happens to be the capital of the state of Georgia. Since it’s a major city, the accident rate is also relatively high. Even though every car accident doesn’t cause whiplash, there is still a good chance that it may happen. If you are not careful on the road, you could end up paying the price. In some cases, it isn’t even the injured individual’s fault, which we will discuss later in more detail. Whiplash is a condition that leaves your physical well-being in an uncertain state. If there is a lack of proper follow-up treatment, your situation can get even worse. Before we move on to the course of action, it is essential to understand what exactly whiplash is.
What is Whiplash?
It is a comparatively common injury that can occur at a person’s neck. As there is a sudden acceleration-deceleration interaction with your back and neck, it can lead to pain in your upper body. Rear-end car accidents are what usually leave you with this complication. As there is a sudden forceful impact from behind, your body projects forward, with your neck that follows. This abrupt movement is unnatural as it can leave your back in an unusual S-shaped figure. As there is a compromise in your posture, the slightest movement can give you loads of pain. Including car accidents, many incidents leave you requiring whiplash injury treatment.
The Potential Causes
Even though most people know about the rules and regulations of the road, they are still reckless. When we don’t learn from our past driving errors, we risk the lives of innocent people. As it is the most common reason for whiplash, car accidents can occur because of several reasons.
- Over Speeding: High-speed car accidents are one of the leading reasons for fatality. Most people have it in their nature to slam down on the accelerator and go as fast as possible. As there is a thrill of going at high speeds, people often forget the risks. Just because you have your vehicle under control doesn’t mean someone else can’t make a mistake. The greater your car’s speed, the lesser reaction time you get. If that time becomes too little, you can’t help but watch as your car collides into another. The chances of whiplash are relatively greater as a high speed means a more powerful impact.
- Careless Driving: If you know the rules and regulations of driving and still do not follow them, it is careless driving. As this recklessness leaves you in harsh situations, it can backfire on you. Easy distraction is the most comprehensive carelessness. When you indulge in other activities while driving, you can’t simply focus on the road. Even though you are paying attention, your brain isn’t hardwired to be 100% while performing different tasks. The worst part is that most drivers do not even slow down during an activity that takes their focus off the road.
- Drunk Driving: People usually drink during times of celebration. However, this happiness can quickly turn into suffering if you drive while you’re drunk. When you’re intoxicated, your body doesn’t function as it typically would. As the alcohol diminishes your focus, it takes longer to process and react to different situations. If there is a lack of appropriate decision-making in these situations, you could end up with car wreck injuries like whiplash.
The force of a car accident isn’t the only reason that can leave you with whiplash. If you are part of a strenuous physical sport, you may have to suffer the occasional injury. Even though most injuries are easy to recover from, anything that causes whiplash will leave you on the sidelines for a long spell. Apart from sports, even the sudden jerks of an amusement park ride can cause whiplash if you aren’t careful.
When to Get Medical Help
If you have undergone an incident that is potentially damaging for your neck and back, you should get a checkup. As whiplash has a lot of common symptoms, you should not ignore the signs. The symptoms include:
- pain and stiffness in the neck
- pulsating headaches, especially from the base of the skull
- dizziness and confusion
- blurry vision that makes the eyes hurt when you try to concentrate
- a constant weariness that makes your movements more difficult
If your whiplash condition is a long-term problem, you may notice symptoms like:
- difficulty in concentration and memory-recollection
- the ringing of the ears that makes it difficult to focus
- insomnia that makes it hard to sleep
- general irritability because of the constant pain
- never-ending discomfort in the neck, head, and shoulders
If you feel like the pain is spreading to your arms or shoulders, you should immediately check in with a doctor. The determination for other serious situations is pain on the head’s movement or numbness in the arms.
How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
After a severe accident, the diagnosis of the patient is quick and seamless. The doctor’s examination determines if you developed whiplash that needs treatment. According to the procedure, the doctor asks you questions about the incident to fully understand the situation. Since this helps to know how severe your symptoms are, emergency diagnoses can take place. After the verbal examination, you have to perform simple tasks that have upper body movements. This test helps the doctor assess the pain and stiffness in the head, neck, and arms. It is also crucial to check the:
- degree of movement in the neck and shoulders that cause pain or increases it
- tenderness in the neck, back, and shoulders
- reflex action and the degree of sensations present in the limbs
Even though whiplash isn’t detectable over imaging tests, they can still rule out other conditions that worsen your condition. These imaging tests consist of:
- X-ray: When taken from many different angles, it can reveal fractures or dislocations in the neck region.
- Computerized Tomography: A CT scan is a special X-ray that produces visual cross-sections of the bones. It helps indicate any bone damage.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging: An MRI implements radio waves and a magnetic field to display accurate 3D imagery. Apart from bone damage, this scan can also show soft tissue injuries such as a damaged spinal cord.
Moving on to the Treatment
Even though it sounds like a troublesome condition, whiplash heals on its own. All you need to do is give it time. However, there are situations where the injury is chronic. Multiple treatment options can help with the recovery process.
- Icing the Neck: After the injury, a quick cold compression can reduce the pain and swelling. You should wrap the ice in a thin cloth to prevent any numbing and damage to the skin. Use the cold-compress method every three to four hours for at least two to three days.
- Take Painkillers: If the pain of whiplash is too much to bear, the doctor will prescribe a couple of drugs. Medicines such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help with the pain. These include Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve.
- Use a Neck Brace or Collar: As the neck movement after whiplash is excruciating, a neck brace provides additional support. This brace is not advisable for long-term usage as it weakens the neck muscles. Since the muscles would become reliant on this collar, they would fail to develop on their own.
- Visit a Chiropractor: If you want to have your injuries fixed without invasive treatment, chiropractic treatment is the way to go. Thanks to the use of spinal manipulation, a chiropractic specialist can help your back go back into its original shape. They also provide a bunch of rehabilitation exercises that lead to a faster and more natural recovery.
- Electronic Nerve Stimulation: A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device will send small electrical currents to targeted areas in your upper body. These pulses control the body’s pain signals, creating temporary or permanent relief. TENS therapy is a relatively safe procedure and has no substantial side effects.
Most cases of whiplash can resolve in a matter of days. You can find medical practitioners in Atlanta that will help you prevent such complications. If you want to avoid long-term neck strains, you should always be careful in potentially risky situations. If there are rules and regulations, you should always do your best to follow them. It might just save you from a bad case of whiplash.