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What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck, most commonly from motor vehicle accidents. It can also happen with a sports injury, physical abuse or by being punched.  These all can cause an intense flexing and extension of the neck – a movement similar to when you nod your head to say yes.

Thankfully, whiplash is typically not a life-threatening injury, but it can lead to a prolonged period of partial disability.  There are significant expenses related to whiplash including:  medical care, disability, sick leave, lost productivity, and litigation.  While most people involved in minor motor vehicle accidents recover quickly without any chronic symptoms, some continue to experience symptoms for years after the injury.

Common signs and symptoms of whiplash may include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headache
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw pain
  • Arm pain
  • Visual disturbances
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Back pain
  • Muscle spasms

More severe and chronic cases of whiplash may include:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Drug dependency
  • Post-Traumatic stress syndrome
  • Insomnia

Treatment for whiplash may include a doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory and/or muscle relaxers.  Applying heat to the area might also help loosen tight muscles.

The purpose of treatment is to regain your range of motion as quickly as possible.  Starting physical therapy early and focusing on stretching, rotating, and moving the neck back and forth will typically give the patient more reliable and rapid improvement in their symptoms.

While it is not always possible to prevent accidents, advances in automobile safety have vastly reduced the associated risks. Unfortunately, while there will always be people willing to attempt to mislead the system for personal gain, whiplash is a real condition with real symptoms.

If you find yourself with whiplash, KNOW WHO TO CALL, Call Tad today.  417-865-4400


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