Did you know that up to two million Americans suffer from a whiplash injury? Notably, most of these individuals develop upper neck pain but don’t seek assistance because they assume that their condition will improve over time. Sadly, some whiplash injuries result in long-term pain that can limit head movements and impact day-to-day activities. Others might also need to undergo a surgical operation because of nerve tissue damage or brainstem lesions.
To help you avoid worse problems because of your whiplash injury, we rounded up essential facts and helpful tips in our blog post. Read on to learn how to overcome a whiplash injury and take better care of your cervical spine.
Whiplash: Not Your Ordinary Cause of Upper Neck Pain
A whiplash injury causes upper neck pain characterized by a dull, aching pain on either the front or back of a person’s neck. This condition does not always present itself immediately. In some cases, it takes days, weeks, or even months to show. Some patients also confuse whiplash with an ordinary stiff neck or neck sprain because of shared symptoms such as:
- Stiffness of neck muscles
- Spasms in the area
- Limited motion range
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
Besides these symptoms, additional health complaints can develop if your whiplash results in tissue damage in organs like the brain, larynx, or esophagus. Here are some whiplash injury red flags you should look out for:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain when chewing
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Abnormal tingling or burning sensation in the neck area or head
- Vision problem
- Memory loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, we suggest seeking urgent medical assistance. You may drive to the doctors’ clinic or the emergency room.
Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash can stem from various traumatic events. For example, it can develop in people caught in a car accident of the abrupt acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle. Those who suffer an intense blow to the head or neck because of contact sports such as boxing, football, and Muay Thai can also suffer from a whiplash injury.
Suppose you have a history of any of the injuries listed above. In that case, we strongly suggest speaking with your physician or upper cervical chiropractic doctor to get a detailed scan of your cervical spine. This will help you verify whether you have a whiplash injury and determine what procedure or remedy you should consider.
Whiplash Secret Remedies Revealed
While whiplash can heal on its own, the recovery phase can sometimes take longer than usual because of complications like nerve compression, limited range of motion, and decreased blood flow to the cervical spine and head if you have postural imbalances.
Naturally, the force from a whiplash-causing accident forces the neck bones to get displaced. This results in a less optimal neck bone alignment and chronic problems like lingering upper neck pain.
Thankfully, patients nowadays have a variety of options for whiplash neck pain. Some examples of these include the following:
#1. Neck brace
This gear immobilizes the cervical spine for some time to hasten the neck’s healing process and support the head’s weight. Sadly, a neck brace can sometimes feel uncomfortable despite its purpose because it permits minimal movement. As a result, doctors often recommend applying a hot or cold compress to the painful area to alleviate the pain, inflammation, or muscle spasms.
#2. Pain medications
Over-the-counter painkillers can sometimes relieve upper neck pain caused by a whiplash injury. Medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the go-to for mild to moderate whiplash injuries. However, sometimes patients often turn to more potent prescription medicines to manage the pain. Others even request a prescription for antidepressant drugs to relax the mind and dampen the sensitivity of the pain receptors.
#3. Physical therapy
Most people who get injured during a traumatic accident seek a physical therapist. That’s because this approach comes in extra handy in rehabilitating the affected area and creating a sound patient care plan for those with painful health complaints like whiplash. It can also prevent further damage to the affected neck tissues with the help of electric stimulation and guided exercises.
Some cases of whiplash neck pain require immediate surgery. Doctors can sometimes recommend surgical intervention when a patient has a severe neck problem because of whiplash. However, it’s quite an uncommon approach because of the risks of spinal disc damage and other complications.
#5. Cervical Spine Manipulation
Cervical spine manipulation or upper cervical chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring the body’s balance. It uses well-calculated measurements to know the exact angle to tilt the neck during the adjustment. Like physical therapy, upper cervical chiropractic care requires multiple sessions to check and correct the misalignment thoroughly.
Upper cervical care remains among the best answers to whiplash injuries and upper neck pain. It also works well for different age groups and applies to a broad spectrum of patients, including those with underlying health problems like degenerative disc disease.
Find a Cervical Doctor for Your Whiplash or Upper Neck Pain
A whiplash injury should never get neglected – regardless of the severity of its symptoms. If you have a history of this health concern or suspect upper cervical bone misalignments, we suggest carving out a bit of time to visit a neck chiropractor. This way, you can learn more about the importance of your cervical spine and determine whether your upper neck pain can benefit from upper cervical care.
Please feel free to read more about whiplash and upper cervical chiropractic in the Upper Cervical Awareness blog. You can also visit our doctors’ portal to find an upper cervical chiropractic practice near you.