The average human head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds and is supported by just seven small vertebrae in your neck. When your head is whipped forward and back, this weight can cause serious damage along your cervical spine and in the surrounding supportive tissues. The effects of whiplash may linger for years if not treated properly right from the start.
At Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, our team of highly trained chiropractors has a unique understanding of the human musculoskeletal system and how trauma can have a cascading effect, especially when your spine is involved. And when it comes to whiplash, early intervention is key.
Here’s a look at what happens during whiplash and why you shouldn’t wait to seek treatment.
The makings of whiplash
Whiplash is medically known as cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome, which describes what happens to your neck when it happens. Most whiplash injuries occur when you’re struck from behind while you’re in your vehicle, though they can happen any time your head is rocked violently back and forth. High-impact sports collisions and violent shaking are less common examples of whiplash-inducing injuries.
In the case of a car accident, the action of the carseat against your back, the loading forces on your spine, and then the violent thrust forward and back of your head all come together to create mild-to-severe problems in your vertebrae and your supporting tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
The severity of your whiplash largely depends upon the speed of the accident and how much of the impact is absorbed by your body.
Knowing the signs of whiplash
When you’re in an accident, your adrenaline usually takes over in an attempt to protect your body. This also means that you may not feel any symptoms for several hours as your body remains in a heightened fight-or-flight response.
Once your hormone levels regulate themselves, your injuries are no longer masked and may become painfully evident. With whiplash, you may feel:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle tenderness in your neck and shoulders
- Radiating tingling and numbness in your arms
These symptoms can range in severity, but if you’re experiencing any one of them at any level, we recommend you come see us so that we can take a closer look and get you the treatment you need.
If your whiplash was severe, you may experience:
- Extreme pain
- Neck instability
- Balance and coordination problems
With a severe case of whiplash, you may also have cognitive or neurological problems, such as extreme moodiness, ringing in your ears, blurred vision, or dizziness.
If you have any of these symptoms, please seek immediate care at your nearest emergency room.
Why early treatment?
There are several reasons why prompt treatment of your whiplash is well-advised. To start, we want to take a closer look at your injury to make sure that there aren’t bigger problems, such as fractured or sheared vertebrae. An X-ray is usually our first stop as we assess the damage.
Second, we can address your immediate discomfort and formulate a plan that helps you heal as quickly as possible. Through physical therapy and chiropractic care, we can strengthen your damaged tissues and maintain your range of motion.Lastly, untreated whiplash can lead to chronic problems with neck pain that can last for months, and even years.
The bottom line is that when it comes to your fragile neck and head, erring on the side of caution is always a good idea.
If you’ve injured your neck in an accident, and you suspect whiplash, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (281) 223-1172, or use the online booking tool to set up an appointment.