One of the most frequently asked questions about whiplash is whether it brings on neck pain. Does whiplash cause neck pain? The answer is pretty obvious—YES, it can cause neck pain. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, whiplash is a neck injury that stems from a forceful, rapid back-and-forth jerking of the neck.
Possible Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash often happens to people who had a major vehicular accident. However, it can also result from any events that cause the neck muscles to extend beyond the limit of range of motion. Several unfortunate incidents can cause whiplash injury such as the following:
- Sports-Related Accidents – Injuries from sports such as from playing soccer, basketball, or wrestling can result in a person overextending his/her neck muscles
- Collisions – Being hit in the back of the head or face due to a rear-end car accident can cause whiplash
- Falling or tripping – Falling can lead to neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and more
- Physical assault – Sudden strikes to the head or violent shaking can result in whiplash injury.
Whiplash can impair the neck, tendons, and muscles. The effects of whiplash may not come out immediately, but they may manifest after a couple of days, weeks, months, or even years. Some cases are painless, but feeling no pain does not mean the injury never occurred.
How Do You Know If You Have Whiplash?
Here is a list of the common signs and symptoms of whiplash. They may arise days or weeks following the injury.
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Headaches or migraines
- Shoulder pain
- Jaw or face pain
- Pain in the arms, legs, feet, hands
- Blurred or double vision
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Hearing loss
- Low back pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Post-concussion syndrome
When uncared for, a whiplash injury can lead to severe disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, seizures, ADHD, and multiple sclerosis. The frightening thing is they may not emerge until long years after the accident.
Care for Neck Pain Due to Whiplash
What can you do right now to eliminate neck pain or make sure that you will not suffer from pain because of whiplash in the future? Here are some steps you can take to guarantee your recovery.
Put an ice pack on top of the injured area for about 20 minutes every three to four hours. Do this for the first two or three days of the injury. Be sure you wrap it in a paper towel and not apply directly to the skin to avoid frostbite. Ice can lessen the inflammation and pain in your neck.
After the two or three-day period of icing, that is the time that you apply heat in the injured spot of the neck. While ice helps diminish the swelling, moist heat will help bring back the blood flow.
Implementing some relaxation techniques can avoid the straining of your neck muscles, thus help in the healing of the injury. Relaxation methods range from yoga, massage therapy, and Tai chi. They can calm down your muscles and relieve muscle spasms. On top of that, they help divert your attention away from the pain.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic
This is a niche within chiropractic alternative medicine that focuses on aligning the upper cervical vertebrae, the topmost bones of the spine. Whiplash can result in misalignment of the upper cervical spine. An upper cervical chiropractor can examine your neck for any misalignment. Then, they fix the misalignment through gentle adjustments of the bones.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Whiplash
While ice and heat therapy and relaxation techniques can ease your neck pain temporarily, they are just the beginning of the healing process. Full recovery may just be as complex as the injury. It may need more than doing these steps. If you are looking for a lasting solution to your neck pain and whiplash, upper cervical chiropractic can be the right form of care for you. Therefore, you should try it.
Here is a myth that needs to die: You are fine as long as you do not feel pain. The truth is whiplash symptoms can be mild at first, and you may not be aware you have the neck injury. As mentioned earlier, the consequences of whiplash may not show up until several years later. Therefore, you should have a professional examine your upper neck vertebrae for a misalignment.
It only takes a misalignment as little as ¼ of a millimeter to cause stress on the brainstem. This can lead to disrupted communication between the brain and the body. Therefore, if the brain cannot communicate with the body accurately, that can cause neck pain and all sorts of health issues. Having said that, it is crucial to seek out the care of an upper cervical chiropractor who can get to the bottom of your whiplash.
Upper cervical doctors employ gentle adjustments to correct misalignments in the upper neck. Correction of the root cause will return the normal body-brain communication and functions, eventually getting rid of neck pain and other symptoms of whiplash.