Did you know that whiplash is the most common car accident injury? The force of impact during a car accident can cause your head and neck to snap forward and backward rather violently, which can strain your neck muscles and injure your spine. Some car accident injuries like whiplash can be tricky to recognize right away because the symptoms may not start right away. You might have a whiplash injury after a car accident that requires whiplash treatment, or your neck pain might be caused by another issue. A car accident doctor can help to accurately diagnose the cause of your neck pain so you can get started on an appropriate treatment plan that will provide you with lasting pain relief and healing from your injuries.
Neck Pain after a Car Accident
Neck pain is one of the more common symptoms after a car accident for a variety of injuries. While your upper body is held in place by a seat belt, your head and neck are left susceptible to injury. Seat belts and other safety features in the car cannot completely prevent you from experiencing an injury in a car accident.
Even minor car accidents can leave you with aches and pains afterward, especially in your neck and back. If you were in a small fender-bender then you might be tempted to skip the doctor and wait for your pain and discomfort to go away. However, if you have an injury that goes untreated then you run the risk of developing chronic pain.
The neck is designed to hold up the head and provide mobility so you can turn your head up and down and side to side. When you have a neck injury or pain in your neck, it can make these movements uncomfortable and difficult. Sore muscles are common after a car accident because of how your body braces for impact and responds to a traumatic event. When your neck muscles are stretched and strained out of their normal range of motion, it can lead to neck pain that lingers for days or even weeks after a car accident.
Diagnosing Whiplash and Neck Pain
In order to determine what precisely is causing your neck pain, your doctor will first want to hear a report of your symptoms and more about how the car accident occurred. It helps your doctor to get a better idea of how you may have sustained an injury to your neck and spine. Pay attention to when you first started noticing the pain in your neck, what other symptoms you may have had at the time, and whether or not the pain has gotten worse over time. Your doctor will also want to perform a physical examination of your neck to assess for injury to your muscles and spine. Your doctor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests, like an X-ray or CT scan, to get a clearer picture of the damage to your neck and locate the source of your pain. An X-ray or CT scan may also be utilized to rule out other potential injuries with similar symptoms.
Treating Whiplash and Neck Pain
Once your doctor has settled on a diagnosis, they will use that to inform an individualized plan for whiplash treatment. Car accident doctors understand that every person experiences a car accident injury differently, and whiplash is no exception. Depending on your symptoms alongside your neck pain and whiplash, your doctor may want to recommend certain treatment options and techniques over others because they would suit you best. In some cases, you may be able to treat general neck pain after a car accident with at-home remedies. If your doctor has ruled out a more serious injury like whiplash, then you may be able to apply ice and heat to your neck to help ease the pain. Applying cold packs to your neck helps to soothe the pain and also brings down any swelling in the area. Applying warm compresses also helps with pain and promotes blood flow to the area with fresh oxygen and nutrients.
If you are in need of whiplash treatment, then visit an AICA Orthopedics location near you to experience our individualized and comprehensive care for all types of car accident injuries.