Several years ago, Lisa’s car was rear-ended. In just seconds, the force of the collision flung her head and neck back and forth. She experienced whiplash.
Lisa had a neck X-ray and was told that she was lucky; nothing was broken. However, she was advised to take over-the-counter medication and use an ice pack for the sore neck she would undoubtedly have. The pain, they said, would go away in a week or two.
Years later, someone suggested the pain in her neck and back she sometimes felt were long-term symptoms of her whiplash injury. Seeking help for worsening pain, she searched online for “whiplash treatment near me,” “whiplash chiropractor near me,” and “auto injury chiropractor.” After several sessions with a whiplash chiropractor, she finally found the relief she needed. She gained the freedom of motion in her neck she hadn’t had since before the accident.
Whiplash damage is not always felt right away, so it’s easy to think you don’t need treatment and find out, as Lisa did, what happens if you leave whiplash untreated. Of all the people injured in auto accidents, about two-thirds experience whiplash, and about 40 percent end up with chronic pain. Rest assured, though, effective treatment is still possible. It’s never too late to improve your condition.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck and head in response to a strong impact on the body. Whiplash is a typical injury in car accidents, especially rear-end car collisions. It can also result from physical abuse or assault, contact sports, a fall, or other high-impact incidents. The neck stretches in one direction and recoils in the opposite direction, forward and backward. This type of injury happens so fast that the body doesn’t have time to react and prevent or reduce the extent of the injury.
Untreated Whiplash Symptoms
Whiplash can produce an array of mild to severe symptoms. Some injuries may not be as immediately apparent as broken bones and internal injuries. Still, from our perspective, “any body part that is jarred or jostled unexpectedly and beyond normal limits can sustain stretched ligaments and even tears. Those supporting the head and neck are especially vulnerable to this tearing.”
Whiplash symptoms don’t always appear right away. It may take hours or days before you feel the pain. This can make you believe you don’t need immediate medical care. After an auto injury, a chiropractor’s care prevents an escalation of pain and damage from untreated whiplash symptoms.
You can feel the effects of whiplash years after the accident. The longer you put off treatment, the more your condition can deteriorate. Long-term whiplash injury symptoms will take longer to treat and heal.
Symptoms of Whiplash: A Summary
Here is what whiplash can unleash in the body. In any of these cases, untreated whiplash symptoms can worsen over time and even become chronic permanent whiplash symptoms.
- Pain and stiffness, from mild to severe, are the most prominent symptoms after whiplash. Pain becomes worse when moving the neck.
- Loss of the natural spinal curve in your neck can happen and can remain years after the incident.
- Inflammation due to stretching and tearing of soft tissues causes swelling and pain.
- Headaches often accompany neck pain, radiating from the base of the skull.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and loss of balance can cause a lack of coordination and falling.
- Concussions, studies suggest, may occur during the whiplash incident.
- Memory issues may be a loss of memory or the ability to concentrate.
- Ears, eyes, and mouth problems can include trouble swallowing, vision problems, and ringing in the ears.
#3: Back, Shoulders, and Arms
- Pain, numbness, and tingling in the back, shoulders, or arms can vary in intensity.
- Damage to vertebrae is a possibility.
- Spinal misalignment in the back and neck cause pain and limited range of motion.
#4: Mental Health
- Fatigue and sleep disruption make it harder to get through the day.
- Emotional problems such as irritability and depression are possible, especially if you’re burdened with other symptoms.
Long-term whiplash injury symptoms can worsen and become chronic, possibly debilitating conditions. However, even later treatment can significantly improve your rehabilitation. Chiropractic treatments focused on restoring normal function can improve conditions in 93 percent of whiplash patients.
Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan of adjustments, massage, and other techniques to evict the whiplash symptoms that have made themselves at home in your body over the years. If you’ve waited years to get help for your pain and injuries, it will take longer to resolve each issue. Some years-old symptoms may not heal completely, but they can get better.
If you ever experience whiplash, whether from a car accident or other traumatic event, it is crucial to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. The violent motion of whiplash is a shock to the system. In addition, it happens so quickly that it can take a while to realize what happened.
During the incident, you need to think clearly about two things: getting a medical evaluation right away and seeing a chiropractor as soon as you know other severe and life-threatening injuries are either ruled out or treated. Don’t take a lack of immediate, intense pain to mean that you just need a little pain medication and some rest. Whiplash symptoms emerge over time and can become dangerous chronic ailments that reduce your quality of life.
You can get chiropractic help for long-term whiplash injury symptoms, and your condition can improve. But why live with pain for so long? A whiplash chiropractor is ready and waiting to help you!
Here at Kaizo Health, it is our firm belief that, with the proper chiropractic help, you can rise above your pain and enjoy a more proactive lifestyle! If you have any questions regarding chiropractic help, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment with our chiropractic team! In the meantime, make sure that you check out our blog for more information on the chiropractic field, as well as our free virtual self-assessment chiropractic web app here.