Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcefully jerked forward and backward. It is usually caused by a car accident, sports injury, or other traumatic event. Because it is a strain on the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments, untreated whiplash can lead to serious spinal misalignment and chronic structural problems. At first, whiplash may cause difficulty in moving the neck or head.
Swollen muscles can cause tenderness or even an inability to turn the head and neck. With treatment and rest, this should improve and full mobility should be restored. However, if left untreated, it can lead to headaches, migraines, or severe shoulder pain that radiates down the upper body.
Physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and specific exercises can help reduce inflammation and restore mobility.
It is important to get a quick and accurate diagnosis from a doctor to rule out broken bones or other damage that could worsen symptoms. Studies have shown that 8% of people injured in a whiplash accident had not yet returned to their full work tasks one year after suffering the injury. Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks if they follow a treatment plan that includes pain medications and exercise. You may not feel the onset of symptoms of whiplash for a day or two after the accident, but treatment is still needed for proper healing and relief.
After reading about the dangers of an untreated whiplash injury, there is no reason to postpone treatment after an accident.