Have you recently been in a car accident? Were you injured in a high-impact sport? If either of these is true for you, you may be wondering if you have whiplash.
Whiplash is most commonly associated with car accidents because of how the impact of two vehicles causes the head and neck to jolt forward and backward. This experience can cause the muscles and tendons in your neck to hyperextend and strain. They are jarringly stretched outside of their normal range of motion.
Whether you were in a minor fender-bender or in a serious car accident with possible other sustained injuries, it is important to find out whether you have whiplash by reaching out to an orthopedic doctor in Atlanta today.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash are pain, headaches, and stiffness. When the head and neck are jerked first forward, potentially with impact to the steering wheel, and then backward, with possible impact to the headrest, your neck and back muscles will become sore.
Headaches are common after a car accident and with whiplash because of how the impact causes the brain to shift and misalignments to occur in the neck and spine. Many who have suffered from whiplash also report stiffness in their neck and restricted range of motion when turning their head side to side or forward to back.
Delayed Symptoms with Whiplash
It is important to know that symptoms of whiplash may not present right away. In the case of a car accident, your adrenaline is likely pumping and you may even be in shock as your mind and body processes what just happened.
This is a common experience among many victims of car accidents and also those who later receive a diagnosis of whiplash. As your muscles tense up or swell in response to the strain and tearing, you may begin to experience symptoms in a few hours or even over a few days.
That is why it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, so a doctor can help assess any damage whether or not you are fully symptomatic.
Trained and effective doctors use a combination of physical exams and diagnostic imaging tools for a comprehensive diagnosis of whiplash. The doctor will speak with you about your symptoms and also perform a thorough physical exam of the affected areas.
Because whiplash can affect the head, neck, and back, it is important for the doctor to understand the patient’s experience and symptoms, as well as utilize high-quality images of the areas affected in order to review the damage to muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
CT scans and MRIs are some of the most common diagnostic imaging tests used and they provide the doctor with helpful additional information. A CT scan is like a 3D X-ray of the affected area and your exposure to radiation is minimal. An MRI uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the affected areas. Both can be beneficial depending on the type of injuries you are experiencing.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, a doctor may prescribe a range of treatments to address your symptoms. For mild symptoms of whiplash, you may be able to proceed with at-home remedies such as icing the neck to help alleviate swelling and applying warm compresses to soothe sore and tender muscles.
Over-the-counter pain medications may also be recommended by your doctor to help manage the pain symptoms associated with the whiplash. In moderate cases, massage therapies and gentle spinal manipulation may be recommended. The most severe cases are rare and may require surgery to address the root cause of the pain.
The AICA Orthopedics Treatment
At AICA Orthopedics, our multi-specialty team of doctors includes orthopedists, chiropractors, physical therapists, neurologists, and more, all in one convenient location. Each Atlanta location houses multiple doctors from various areas of specialties so we can utilize a comprehensive treatment plan and holistic approach to your care.
We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic image testing in each location, so you only have to go to one location for all the services and care you need. When it comes to treating whiplash, visit our team at AICA Orthopedics so we can address your symptoms from every angle and have you back to full range of motion as soon as possible.