Did you know that more than 3 million people are injured in accidents each year in the U.S.? While some injuries are more severe than others, even seemingly minor strains such as whiplash can have long-lasting effects if left untreated.
Whiplash, also known as a neck, shoulder or back sprain, is one of the most common injuries caused by a traffic collision. Resulting from the rapid back-and-forth motion of an accident, whiplash is the stretching of the head and neck muscles. It’s true that more than 50% of all whiplash injuries lead to chronic symptoms and nearly 300,000 Americans become disabled due to the pain of whiplash.
In the following guide, we will explain the most important things you should know about whiplash, the most common causes and symptoms, and the safest treatment options for you.
5 Important Facts About Whiplash in Montana
If you’ve ever been involved in a collision, then you’ve probably experienced whiplash to a certain degree. While you may not have noticed your symptoms right away or even at all, some of the most minor accidents can cause whiplash.
Let’s take a look at the 5 most important facts about this type of injury:
1) You can sustain a whiplash injury only traveling 5 to 10 mph
According to Chiro Trust, low-speed collisions can generate enough force to cause injuries in the neck, back, and shoulders. At any speed, the motion of a crash (particularly rear-end collisions) can be enough to damage soft tissue in the neck. This includes tearing in the muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments in the neck.
Most low-speed accidents occur with very little to no damage to the vehicle but can still impact the body. Keep in mind, the severity of a whiplash injury depends on the amount of safety restraint used at the time of the crash. Always remember to buckle up.
2) Whiplash injures are commonly caused by rear-end collisions
When an automobile is rear-ended, this causes the head and neck to suddenly jolt backward and forward in a quick, jerking motion. This movement can injure the spine, the disks between the bones, nerves, and other important tissues of the neck.
It’s also important to note that rear-end collisions occur the most frequently, accounting for about 29% of all vehicle crashes. If you were injured in a rear-end collisions, it’s imperative that you seek medical treatment before your symptoms worsen.
3) Whiplash symptoms may take up to 24 hours to notice
If you’ve ever been in an accident, you may have noticed a bit of strain in your neck hours after the collision occurred. While neck pain is the most common sign of a whiplash injury, oftentimes symptoms can several hours or even days to develop.
The reason for this is due to the state of the nerves and muscles in your neck. After a collision, your nerves are essentially in shock and the pain is not always apparent. However, this doesn’t mean your injury isn’t there.
4) Whiplash occurs more frequently in women
Okay, ladies. We know what you’re thinking. Why are you being singled out for experiencing whiplash more frequently? Well, a person’s physical condition, age, and even gender play a key role in the severity of a whiplash injury.
Simply put, men have stronger upper back and neck muscles, which are areas of the body directly impacted by whiplash injuries. Studies also show that age, poor posture, and smoking habits can measure the severity of your injury.
5) Rest can actually worsen whiplash symptoms
When it comes to rest, it’s often said that rest equals rust. You may not want to exercise for fear of making your injury worse but resting for more than a few days can cause your muscles to stiffen and get weak.
The lack of physical activity can even prolong your pain and do more harm than good. The best way to avoid further damage is to speak with your medical provider about your symptoms and discuss a treatment plan.
If you need a medical referral to a chiropractor or physical therapist in Montana, you can contact our personal injury law firm with further questions.
Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
If you were involved in a collision, you may be wondering if your neck or back pain are related to a whiplash injury. Symptoms of whiplash often include:
- Neck pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- Limited mobility
- Inflammation in the neck, back or shoulders
- Tingling/numbness in the arms
More severe symptoms are:
- Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Sleep disturbances
You should speak with a medical doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above after an accident. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis right away to help rule out the possibility of any broken bones in the neck, back or shoulders.
How to Diagnose Whiplash
Even if you’re experiencing mild neck or shoulder pain, you should still be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. Your doctor will ask you questions about the accident and your symptoms as well as properly evaluate your range of motion through a series of simply tasks.
There are two parts of diagnosing a whiplash injury:
During the exam, your doctor will need to move your head, neck, and arms. You will also be asked to perform simple movement tasks so your doctor can check the following:
- Range of motion
- Degree of motion
- Tenderness in the neck, back or shoulders
- Reflexes in the limbs
- Strength of the neck muscles
- Sensation in the nerves
2) Imaging tests
While whiplash injuries aren’t always apparent on imaging tests, your doctor will likely order one or more to rule out any other potential injuries that could increase your neck pain. These tests include:
- X-rays. Your doctor will help rule out any possibility of a fracture, dislocation or arthritis by using an x-ray test.
- Computerized tomography (CT). CT’s are commonly used to product cross-sectional images of bone to show any bone damage.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This special type of imaging test uses radio waves and a magnetic field to give detailed 3D images of the neck, back and upper shoulders.
Seeking Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash in Montana
Whiplash is certainly not an injury you should leave untreated. Constant pain in the neck and back can limit so much of your daily routine as well as worsen over time.
Chiropractic therapy is one of the safest alternative methods to treating accident injuries such as whiplash. Chiropractic doctors use non-invasive techniques to help the body heal itself. This type of treatment involves hands-on therapy to improve your body’s physical function and help rebuild injured muscles and tissue in your neck.
Whiplash treatment methods include:
- Spinal manipulation- Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, the primary treatment for whiplash joint dysfunction is called spinal manipulation. This is when a chiropractor gently moves the joint in the direction in which it is restricted.
- Muscle relaxation or stimulation- When treating muscle dysfunction, chiropractors often use muscle relaxation and/or stimulation. This type of treatment includes the gentle stretching of the muscle with excessive tension, including finger pressure techniques to help relieve pain.
- Various exercises- Most chiropractors employ different exercises for whiplash injuries, including McKenzie exercises or stabilization exercises. These both help correct faulty movement patterns so you can take an active role in your recovery by helping your body heal.
- Ergonomic and lifestyle changes– During your recovery process, it’s critical that you implement only a minimal amount of strain to the neck in your life activities. Finding new ways to complete daily tasks is essential.
Chiropractic treatment is a holistic remedy that focuses on the root of the problem while helping you find a comfortable solution. Chiropractors don’t just look at your targeted area of pain but instead address your overall health and well-being.
While some doctors prescribe medication to help alleviate pain, chiropractors prescribe therapeutic exercises to help restore your body’s natural motion and relieve you of your whiplash symptoms altogether.
Contact The Advocates Today for Chiropractic Referral in Montana
If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident, you should consider speaking with one of our chiropractic doctors. Here at The Advocates, we work with a handful of medical professional who want the best for you and your recovery.
To help reduce the risk of your injury getting worse, contact our personal injury law firm today and we’ll help you get the recovery you are owed. You can call us today at 406-629-1411, fill out the form below, or chat with a live attorney and we’ll connect you with a chiropractor near you. Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate!
Speak with an Advocate Today!