Whiplash, used as everyday non-medical term, portrays neck pain that may result from a certain injury to your neck, which may involve muscles, tendons or ligaments. The cause is excessive motion or pressure applied beyond its normal range. Whiplash was first commonly used as a term around 1928, and is still used for neck injury of ordinary soft tissues. Your physician would prefer to call this condition as hyperextension injury, cervical strain or cervical sprain.
Common known whiplash causes
Whiplash occurs due to impulsive spine stretching, and resultant tearing of longitudinal spine ligaments, mainly caused by sudden forward and back snapping of the head. This condition can result from strenuous sports activities, car accidents, inadvertent falls or any injury sustained by assault. Shaken-baby syndrome also results from whiplash injuries. Other Whiplash-associated disorders, commonly known as WAD, symbolize injuries caused by sudden neck distortions. In motor car incidents, it may occur as the vehicle is suddenly struck from the rear. Injuries can also be sustained in a number of other ways, such as in falls or sudden banging of the head. Exact mechanism of the injury which causes whiplash is not complete understood.
Some obvious whiplash symptoms
Common symptoms are severe pain to the neck or upper part of the back, sensory nerve disturbance of limbs, and headaches. Symptoms may occur shortly after sustaining the injury, but can persist for some extended time. Pains are normally confined to specific parts of the spinal cord, between the neck and mid-spine regions. As per usually recommended treatment, consistent attention to prescribed procedures will gradually reduce the anomaly. Should symptoms or pain persist, you are advised to consult a qualified physician.
Basic Treatment and suggested remedies for whiplash
Simple home care remedy helps in relieving pain and reducing neck soft tissue inflammations. For frequent computer users, optimum adjustment of the monitor in accordance with your vision level will reduce neck strain. Constant upward straining of the neck can cause muscle spasm or headaches. Some suggested exercises, such as moving your neck in circular motions from time to time, will help to break the routine of consistently staring at the monitor screen.
You can conveniently massage the neck muscles by squeezing them between your thumb and fingers. This will give you a soothing feeling and reduce the spasms. In some advanced cases, assistance of professional masseuse can be sought for proper long-term relief. Simple application of ice-pads to the neck and upper shoulders, for periods up to 20 minutes after regular intervals, will serve an appreciable purpose. You may continue this therapy for a number of days, or till the pain gradually subsists. On the other hand, heating pads can be used to relax your neck muscles and reduce swellings.
A number of suggested medicaments, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, are known to relive pain and reduce inflammation, respectively. However, to avoid side-effects or other undesired complications, these should be administered after consulting a physician. Considering severity and nature of continuing or deteriorating symptoms, especially in the case of more serious or severe conditions, proper treatment by a chiropractor, therapist or a doctor must be considered without fail or unnecessary delay.