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Whiplash: symptoms, treatment and duration

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Whiplash, also called an acceleration-deceleration whiplash, occurs when something causes a sudden, strong movement in the neck that forces you back and forth violently.

Most of these cases happen in car accidents, especially when there is an unexpected rear-end collision, while the muscles are relaxed and unable to prevent movement. However, Whiplash can occur in many other situations, such as sudden movements, falls, or anti-anatomic neck twists.

Next, FastlyHealwe will explain everything you need to know about Whiplash: symptoms, treatment, and duration.

Table of Contents

Why does Whiplash occur?

Whiplash is the popular name given to what is medically known as a cervical sprain, a tear in one or more ligaments that join the cervical vertebrae, which causes intense pain in the affected area and affects their correct mobility.

If the term whiplash has ended up being imposed on that of sprain, it is because, in practice, it is impossible to confirm that there is a tear in the ligatures, which is why the pain is attributed to the movement caused by the Whiplash.

Whiplash is caused by sudden, sudden, and excessive flexion and extension of the neck, causing the sprain while flexing and overstressing the joint when extending the neck.

Whiplash symptoms

Whiplash causes obvious and defined symptoms; the pain and the time limitation of specific movements.

The pain is caused by the possible tear or sprain in the ties that join the vertebrae, by the muscular contracture resulting from the unexpected flexion and extension of the muscle, and some possible injury to the joint.

These same injuries cause a limitation of movement while the joint and muscles are still affected, returning to their regular rotation and action once recovered.

Diagnosis of cervical sprain

The diagnosis of Whiplash is made by physical examination and medical history. It is the first thing to be considered when, after a car accident, the patient complains of pain in the neck or head, whether or not it radiates to the arm, with mobility limited by pain and a feeling of dizziness.

Only with these symptoms can Whiplash be diagnosed since the complementary tests that can be done do not show this type of injury. The alterations they can offer could be previous, and many healthy people have them.

Since pain, lack of mobility, and the feeling of dizziness are its only symptoms, and they subside with time, Whiplash does not pose any other risk or leave sequelae in the affected person.

Whiplash treatment

Traditionally, since it was believed that whiplash pain was a consequence of ligament sprain, the area was immobilized with a collar to prevent the patient’s movements from further damaging or aggravating the injury. In recent times this type of treatment has been reviewed, and today we know that far from improving, the neck brace worsens the results because strength and muscle tone are lost, and the fear of moving and the feeling of fragility increases. In the treatment for Whiplash today, the use of the collar is limited as much as possible, leaving it only for exceptional situations.

On the contrary, the aim is to recover an everyday life as soon as possible, promoting exercise and mobility in the area, actions that have proven effective.

Although in a few cases, surgery has been required to treat neck pain caused by Whiplash, it is not recommended as a routine treatment but is reserved for particular circumstances.

Since it generally has a good prognosis and time causes all symptoms to subside, it is recommended not to use any complex treatment if the pain does not continue for a long time.

From FastlyHealwe advise you to follow some of the home remedies for cervical pain.

Duration of Whiplash

As we have said, most patients who have suffered Whiplash do not suffer any sequelae or other derived risks but rather progress correctly. Little by little, the pain disappears, a process that can last a few weeks but gradually subsides.

Only in cases in which there are other factors on that person, such as anxiety and work problems that force him to prolong the time off or very weak and uncoordinated muscles, can the pain become chronic and difficult to treat.

An exact recovery time cannot be given as factors can lengthen or shorten these periods, which vary from weeks to months. Some of these factors are:

  • If the head was turned at the time of the accident, the nerve in the arm could be injured.
  • If there was already neck pain before the accident.
  • If the accident was unexpected or we were not aware of the impending crash.
  • If the position we had at the time of the accident was not adequate.
  • If there was no headrest or it was incorrectly positioned.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Whiplash: symptoms, treatment and duration , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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