Whiplash, as the name implies, is caused when a force, such as an accident, is exerted and your head whips forward and then backwards. However, ‘whiplash’ is not a medical term. The term whiplash merely describes in layman’s terms what happens to the head & neck at impact. It also helps describe why whiplash hurts so much. Whiplash is the number one injury associated with rear end collisions. If you have sustained a neck sprain or strain, also known as whiplash, in an auto accident, fall or other type of accident in Pennsylvania please contact our whiplash injury lawyers. They serve all of Pennsylvania. You can also visit our PA auto accident attorney podcast and PA car accident lawyer videos.
Whiplash Injury Described
Technically, whiplash is a neck sprain or strain. Additional medical terms having to do with whiplash injuries are hyperflexion & hyperextension. Hyperflexion is what happens when your head forward forcefully during an accident. Hyperextension is the violent backward whipping motion of your head during an accident.
Common Causes Of Whiplash
Activities such as bungee jumping and head banging
Symptoms Of Whiplash
Normally whiplash can have a very slow onset. The pain, stiffness in neck & shoulders and tightness may not develop for weeks or months following the accident or injury. In addition, numbness in upper extremities, tingling (pins & needles), headaches, dizziness, nausea & blurred vision may be present in whiplash cases.
Recovering From Whiplash
The consequences of whiplash range from mild pain for a few days (which is the case for most people), to severe disability. It seems that around 50% will have some remaining symptoms.
Alterations in resting state cerebral blood flow have been demonstrated in patients with chronic pain after whiplash injury. There is evidence for persistent inflammation in the neck in patients with chronic pain after whiplash injury.
There has long been a proposed link between whiplash injuries and the development of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). A recent review concluded that although there are contradictions in the literature, overall there is moderate evidence that TMD can occasionally follow whiplash injury, and that the incidence of this occurrence is low to moderate.
Symptoms remaining more than six months after trauma is labelled Whiplash syndrome. The main purpose with early rehabilitation is to reduce the risk for development of Whiplash syndrome. Early rehabilitation for whiplash is dependent on the grade category. It can be categorized as grade 0 being no pain to grade 4 with a cervical bone fracture or dislocation. Grade 4 obviously needs admission to hospital while grade 0-3 can be managed as outpatients. The symptoms from the potential injury to the cervical spine may be debilitating, and pain was reported to be one of the biggest stressor event experienced in daily living, so it is important to begin rehabilitation immediately to prevent future pain.
Current research supports that active mobilization rather than a soft collar results in a more prompt recovery both in the short and long term perspective. Research shows that the soft collar is not a suitable medium for rehabilitation, and the best way of recovery is to include an active rehabilitation program that includes physical therapy exercises and postural modifications. Another study found patients who participated in active therapy shortly after injury increased mobilization of the neck with significantly less pain within four weeks when compared to patients using a cervical collar.
Active treatments are light repetitive exercises that work the area to maintain normality. Basic information is also given to teach the patient that exercises as instructed will not cause any damage to their neck. These exercises are done at home or under the care of a health professional. When beginning a rehabilitation regimen, it’s important to begin with slow movements which include cervical rotation until pain threshold three to five times per day, flexion and extension of the shoulder joint by moving the arms up and down two to three times, and combining shoulder raises while inhaling and releasing the shoulder raise while exhaling. It is also recommend that these exercises be done every day until pain begins to subside. Early mobilization is important for preventing chronic pain, but pain experienced from these exercises might cause psychological symptoms that could have negative impact on recovery. Doing active exercises as often as once every waken hour during one month after trauma decreases the need for sick leave three years after trauma from 25% to 5.7%.
Passive treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and stimulation may sometimes be used as a complement to active exercises. Return to normal activities of daily living should be encouraged as soon as possible to maximize and expedite full recovery.
For chronic whiplash patients, rehabilitation is recommended. Patients who entered a rehabilitation program said they were able to control their pain, they continued to use strategies that were taught to them, and were able to go back to their daily activities.
Contact A Pennsylvania Whiplash Attorney
If you have sustained a neck sprain or strain, also known as whiplash, in an auto accident, fall or other type of accident in Pennsylvania please contact our Pittsburgh whiplash lawyers today. They serve all of Pennsylvania, offer free consults and charge no fee unless they recover for you.