Whiplash can be a very serious injury that usually occurs during a car accident. This type of injury is brought about by rapid back and forth neck movements that take place over a very short period. When this injury occurs in a car accident, it will typically result from a rear-end accident. Individuals might also suffer from whiplash because of various types of trauma, physical abuse, or a sports accident that caused their neck to move rapidly. It's important to understand whiplash is somewhat unique in that the symptoms of the condition don't occur immediately. They can also become progressively worse over time, which means a slight ache in the neck could lead to a loss of its range of motion.
The most effective forms of treatment for whiplash center around pain management that aims to reduce the pain patients are experiencing until it hopefully subsides entirely. These pain management techniques extend from the application of heat and cold to muscle relaxants. In order to receive the necessary treatment before the pain worsens, it's important to know what warnings signs to look for.
Loss Of The Neck's Range Of Motion
Among the most significant warning signs of whiplash is a loss of the neck's range of motion. The range of motion in the neck refers to the degree at which an individual is able to move their neck and the joints within. When individuals lose this range of motion, they'll likely notice their neck has become stiffer and more difficult to move without experiencing discomfort. This loss of the neck's range of motion can be attributed to various factors, some of which are less severe than others. If the whiplash injury was minor, it's possible patients could suffer from neck stiffness because of the rapid movements.
This stiffness will invariably reduce the range of motion in the neck. However, this warning sign could also point towards an injury, tear, or stretch of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. If this injury affects the muscles and tendons, the neck has likely been strained, which will result in a loss of the neck's range of motion. An injury to the ligaments is known as a sprain. While an individual's neck could lose its range of motion for any number of reasons, whiplash is likely the cause if they've recently been in a car accident or sports accident.
Arm Tingling Or Numbness
When the neck moves rapidly backward and forward, an ample amount of pressure is placed on the spine. The spine is the main support structure for most of the body, which means damage to the spine could create problems in an individual's hands, chest, arms, and legs. A very common warning sign of whiplash is arm tingling or numbness. These are abnormal sensations that can be precursors to a wide range of serious health conditions.
While arm tingling and numbness can be signs of everything from an animal bite to radiation therapy, they could also be warning signs of a whiplash injury because of damage to the nerves in the neck and spine. Since both numbing and tingling can be symptomatic of a wide range of serious health conditions, it's important for individuals to seek treatment immediately to have the issue properly diagnosed.
Stiffness And Pain In The Neck
The most common warning signs of whiplash are likely those of stiffness and pain in the neck. Because of the high amount of force placed on the tendons and muscles in the neck, these areas will likely be sore and stiff for at least a couple of weeks after the accident that brought about the injury. These warning signs can range in severity from mild to intense, which is why it's important for patients to monitor their condition if they begin to experience stiffness and pain in the neck.
If the first symptoms are severe and start almost immediately after the accident, it's possible the patient's neck pain and stiffness will become chronic and even more difficult to handle. If the pain and stiffness are chronic, these warning signs will be accompanied by headaches and pain within the arms.
Tinnitus is an exceedingly common condition that causes an individual to experience a buzzing or ringing in their ears. These sounds can vary in both pitch and intensity. Around ten percent of all cases of tinnitus occur because of an injury to the neck or head. In most cases, this issue will be chronic, which means it will likely last for a lengthy period.
Many individuals who experience tinnitus after being involved in a car or sports accident suffer from a more severe form of tinnitus that comes with other problems alongside the ringing or buzzing in the ears. These problems include having difficulties with relaxing, thinking clearly, and sleeping. The pitch of the ringing will also likely be higher than normal if it's related to whiplash.
More than eighty percent of individuals who suffer from whiplash will experience dizziness as one of their first warning signs of the injury. The rapid movements that bring about whiplash can cause issues with the patient's equilibrium and sense of balance, which will oftentimes have them feeling dizzy. Unlike some other warning signs of whiplash, this symptom shouldn't last for too long.
Dizziness will cause patients to experience a range of different sensations like feeling faint, unsteady, and weak. If the dizziness doesn't dissipate in a day or so, it's likely the accident the patient was recently involved in caused them to develop whiplash. There are several treatment options to consider when feeling dizzy, including everything from basic medications to surgery.