If you were in a car accident recently, you likely want to just fix your car and move on with your life. However, even if you weren't injured you should still get checked out by a doctor to make sure you are okay. One possible injury—and a very common one—that you may develop is whiplash.
What is Whiplash?
If your head jerked backward and forward during the car accident, you could have whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the neck muscles are strained because of rapid movement. Whiplash also causes the tendons and ligaments in your neck to stretch and tear.
What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
If you have whiplash, you may experience symptoms like:
- Neck stiffness
- Tenderness or pain in your arms, upper back, and neck
- Muscles spasms
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
Sometimes, whiplash can cause nerve compression in the spine which may result in tingling, numbness, or pain in your arms and hands.
Why Is Whiplash Missed Sometimes in Post-Accident Care?
Some people don't immediately feel the symptoms of whiplash, so it can be easy to miss it during a doctor's exam. Plus, x-rays cannot always pick up the damage and stress you may have undergone, so you should schedule some follow-up visits with your doctor if you start to feel symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe medications that can relax your muscles and relieve pain.
Even if you don't feel symptoms, but you know your head and neck were jerked around during the accident, let your doctor know. They can set you up with a neck brace so that you stay ahead of symptoms.
How Can You Treat Whiplash?
Ask your doctor for a referral to go to a rehab clinic. Some chiropractors offer auto accident injury rehab services. The chiropractor may perform cervical manipulations to relieve any nerve compression.
The chiropractor can also help you stretch out your neck muscles safely so that you don't injure anything else further. They can also show you stretches you can do at the office and at home so that you can restore your range of motion.
Some chiropractors offer massage therapy since it can warm up and relax muscles, making it that much easier to restore range of motion. Plus, if you are in pain, a gentle massage may help release any tension you may be holding in your back and neck. Massage techniques improve circulation, which can improve your healing times.
With rest and proper rehabilitation, you should start feeling better in a few weeks. If your symptoms don't improve after a few months, then it's important to visit your doctor to address any issue that may be causing long-term problems.
Contact a chiropractor in your area for more information about auto injury rehab.