A Brief Overview

Whiplashes are usually presumed to be caused by rear-ended car accidents. However, that is not the case as whiplash can occur from any sudden and forceful movement caused in your neck area. This can include sports injuries, physical abuse, or any other physical trauma or accident like falling off a flight of stairs.

What happens is that a vigorous movement causes your head to sway from either one side to another or back and forth like a whip. This can lead to damages sustained to the spine, injuries sustained on the disks between the bones, cause harm to your ligaments, muscles, tissues, and even nerves in your neck.

Whiplash injuries can cause lifelong pain if they are not treated and taken seriously, which is why visiting a local doctor or clinic like Marietta whiplash chiropractor can help you find relief. Around 3 million cases of whiplash are recorded every year, and in more recent studies, more than 50% of victims who go through this suffering actually progress to some chronic degree of pain. Furthermore, whiplash injuries are five times more probable in women than men. People most suspected to sustain a whiplash are from ages 30 to 50 years old.

Understanding the Severity behind the Injury

It is important to realize that pre-existing health conditions for individuals can actually worsen the impact of whiplash. For instance, those who suffer from arthritis can undergo more serious injury that can result in much greater pain. Moreover, whiplash injuries for women and children are much harsher because their necks are smaller and more susceptible to long-term injury.

The symptoms of whiplash can often appear weeks and even months after a troublesome incident. Whiplash injuries can be classified or categorized according to the severity of the injury. Grade 0 is where no physical signs of injury are visible, and neither are there any complaints from the patient.

This is the lowest category of whiplash. Grade 1 whiplashes are those where again there are no physical signs of injury, but the patient is definitely going through neck pain. Grade 2 and Grade 3 are the worst since both of them show signs of injury; the patient has unbearable neck pain. The only difference between the two is that while Grade 2 whiplash inflicts only the musculoskeletal system, Grade 3 goes deeper and damages the nerves, resulting in neurological impairment.

How Long Can a Whiplash Last?

A severe injury from an incident that resulted in whiplash can take as much as 17 weeks to stabilize. In fact, more than 75% of cases in which whiplash symptoms were involved were found to last up to 6 months and even longer.

In some cases where whiplash accidents led to chronic pain levels, around one in 50 people would require additional diagnosis and testing along with medications and other care on an ongoing basis as much as eight years after the incident. More than half and up to 60% of people at most who have sustained whiplash injuries might require long-term medical follow-ups. In some clinical studies, patients were discovered to undergo chronic pains even after 20 years after the injury.

How to Prevent Whiplash?

Considering the fact that no one in their right mind would ever like to even think about experiencing such trauma in their lives, what can be done to prevent whiplash from happening in the first place? Here are some measures that you can take:

Better Cars & Driving Precautions

The majority of all whiplash injuries reported by health officials and medical care units state that rear-ended car accidents are among the most common causes. If their study is correct, perhaps the first and foremost thing you can do is make sure that you drive safely on the road. Always keep a safe driving distance between you and the car in front of you.

This way, you will actually have time and space to bring your car safely to a halt in time or incident of emergency, which can avoid a collision from happening. Furthermore, you should invest in a car that has terrific safety ratings. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) both offer safety ratings that are highly recommendable and completely reliable.

Last of all, you should also make use of best practices while driving to prevent whiplash. This may include wearing a seat belt, ensuring that headrest/restraint for driver’s seat and passenger seat is ideally positioned so that it prevents your head from rocking back and forth. Headrest must be as high as your ears and not lower, plus the distance between your head and the headrest must not be more than 2 inches as advised by health officials.

Preventing Whiplash in Sporting Events

A sensible approach to playing sports and enjoying them to the fullest requires that take the heed of the safety gear that your coaches and trainers advise you to wear. It is also advised that before you deliver the actual performance in the sporting event, it is best to warm your body first.

This will make your muscles loosened, and your body freshen up a bit, bringing more sharpening to your senses. The entire system prepares itself to awaken and perform at its optimum capacity. Stretching and cooling down exercises are also important.

Effective Forms of Available Treatments

  • There are several exercises available that can help lessen the severity of your condition and manage the pain. These usually involve chin tucks, side to side rotations, side bending, and other muscle-relaxing exercises and workouts.
  • For better pain management, it is best that the person takes plenty of rest but not too much since that too can delay recovery. You can also apply hot and cold packs to the affected region for 15 minutes every three hours to soothe the pain.
  • There are also several over the counter pain medications available, although I strongly recommend that you use them only after getting a prescription for them through a proper diagnosis first from a professional doctor. These include Tylenol and others containing acetaminophen and the likes of Advil, Motrin IB, and others that have ibuprofen in them.
  • For finding relief from more severe forms of pain such as nerve pain, doctors may also prescribe you antidepressant drugs.
  • Muscle relaxants are considered to be only effective temporarily and for short-term use only. Do not rely on them heavily; instead, visit a professional at your soonest to prevent further worsening of your condition.

Conclusion

One should never consider taking whiplashes in a non-serious manner. They are indeed a matter of grave concern and should be treated with urgency as they can quickly cause a person to go through additional sets of unwanted pain if remedial actions are delayed. I hope this post was able to provide you with some informative insights about whiplash and how you can fight them back. For more questions and queries, do let us know of your feedback in the comment section below.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Whiplash: A Small Guide for Prevention & Cure," in Medicalopedia, August 31, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9218/whiplash-a-small-guide-for-prevention-cure/].