Whiplash is one of the most well-known and common injuries experienced in an automobile acccident. This injury occurs when the neck experiences a forceful and rapid back-and-forth movement. However, whiplash is often misunderstood and under-treated.
If you were sent to the ER after your car accident, without broken bones, lacerations, or other serious and obvious injuries, you were most likely told to give yourself a couple of weeks or a month and you’ll recover just fine. You may even receive a prescription or two for medications to help with the pain.
Unfortunately, this often means individuals don’t seek out the help they need, leaving injuries, such as whiplash, to fester. This can lead to neck pain for years down the line, interfering with a person’s daily life and quality of life. At the same time, treatment greatly varies depending on when the accident occurred. For instance, treatment looks very different for someone who experienced a recent car accident versus someone who experienced a car accident five years ago.
With whiplash, the force exerted on the body can lead to misaligned vertebrae, as well as increased tension in the muscles and joints in and around the neck. When left untreated, this can escalate, causing more serious issues involving the joints and discs in the spine and potentially even causing arthritis.
Whiplash might not even cause pain initially. With a car accident, the body pumps out adrenalin, leaving a lot of people actually feeling no pain or soreness right afterward. Over the next hours or days, pain and stiffness may gradually increase, leading to difficulties performing your daily activities. However, visiting a chiropractor during these initial days and weeks can help you achieve the best outcome and avoid lingering chronic pain.