09 Jul Whiplash Pain Can Become Chronic
Whiplash is a medical condition that is associated with a specific type of injury. That injury involves a sudden jolting to the neck, usually brought on by an automobile accident.
A sudden extension and flexing of the neck can bring on a stiff neck and a series of other associated injuries. This occurs when someone is in an automobile that is suddenly hit by another automobile from behind. The extended seat backs in automobiles are directly tied to the effort to reduce or eliminate whiplash injuries. However, the passenger or driver may be out of position, leaning forward or to one side. In these situations, the seat back extensions might be of no use.
The pain of whiplash can be severe. However, whiplash can occur with no immediate pain registering right away. The stiff neck, pain, and other symptoms may not occur until an hour or more after the accident occurs. The pain and stiffness can also be delayed for several days.
A whiplash event can result in a severely stiff neck, but there can be many associated complications. These include:
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Muscle pain
- Trouble sleeping
Treatment and Prognosis
Treatment for whiplash is generally focused on relieving pain and giving the ligament and muscles time to heal. The prognosis is often very good, requiring a couple of days to a few weeks to heal.
However, there are occurrences when whiplash develops into chronic pain. This is sometimes referred to as prolonged whiplash syndrome. Standard treatment options include:
- Heat applied to the neck or sore back muscles
- A neck brace or collar is often used
- Ultrasound therapy
- Physical therapy to restore flexibility
- Chiropractic intervention
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications including naproxen and ibuprofen
- Prescription pain medication, as needed
Chronic Whiplash Syndrome
The long-term pain that can result from a whiplash injury has long baffled researchers and doctors. Standard imaging techniques are unable to end the debates on what could be causing this.
For some people involved in an automobile accident, neck, shoulder and back pain continues long after the precipitating event with no decisive cause. If you suffer from neck, back or shoulder pain after an accident, you could be suffering from whiplash. In San Diego, call the Sorrento Valley Pain Relief Center at (858) 404-5944to find immediate relief and discuss long-term strategies for dealing with chronic pain.