Whiplash: How These Injuries Can Cause Chronic Pain
Bottom Line: Whiplash injuries used to be considered "no big deal', but times have changed. Doctors now know that whiplash can cause lifelong pain and disability if not treated properly. During a car accident, the head often suddenly moves forward and backward with a tremendous amount of force. Even low-speed collisions can generate enough force to injure the delicate ligaments in your neck that support your head. Why it Matters: When you experience a whiplash injury, your head and neck extend beyond their normal range of motion. This can create partial tears or other damage to the muscles and ligaments around your spine and injure the spinal disc, nerves, or muscles. A few key indicators that you may have suffered a whiplash injury include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, dizziness, pain into your arms/shoulders, or limited range of motion.
It’s estimated that over 80% of people involved in a car accident will sustain whiplash injuries.
Whiplash injuries are now considered severe, and often permanent injuries to the ligaments of the neck occur after the rapid back and forth motion experienced during an accident.
What’s more, nearly 50% of people with neck pain or whiplash following a car accident will continue to have pain one year after their initial injury.
Next Steps: Receiving the proper diagnosis and care after a car accident can help reduce your likelihood of struggling with a lifetime of chronic neck pain. Our practice is focused on accurately assessing, documenting, and treating people who have been involved in a car accident. We’d ready to help you regain your quality of life as quickly and safely as possible!
Science Source(s): The Association Between a Lifetime History of a Neck Injury in a Motor Vehicle Collision and Future Neck Pain. European Spine Journal. 2010.