Not many people pay attention to a whiplash injury. This is mainly because they assume it won’t cause any health repercussions. In truth, the neck plays a pivotal role in various physiological functions. So, it’s crucial to attend to a whiplash injury as soon as possible. Let’s help you understand how a whiplash injury works and how you can achieve relief with the help of a neck chiropractor in Sioux Falls.
What is whiplash?
Let’s start with defining what whiplash is exactly. Whiplash, in simple words, is an injury that results from a traumatic, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck as if it was a whip. It usually happens by force. The medical terms used for its effects are cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, whiplash-associated disorders (WAD), or chronic whiplash syndrome. These terms refer to a forceful impact influenced by whiplash on the neck and its surrounding areas, including the immediate inflammatory responses in some people from the injury. When whiplash takes place, it usually affects the neck’s muscles, tissues, tendons, nerves, and the spine.
Causes of whiplash
As mentioned, whiplash usually happens unnaturally and dangerously as it usually involves a type of accident and should never be taken for granted. If you ask a chiropractor in Sioux Falls, they may tell you that auto accidents are the most common cause of whiplash. Rear-end collisions are always associated with whiplash.
However, whiplash can occur in other accidents wherein your head or neck is rocked back and forth by a sudden force. These accidents are not limited to vehicle collisions and may include:
- Amusement park rides such as roller coasters
- Skiing accidents
- Contact sports injuries including boxing, football, extreme sports, karate, etc.
- Physical abuse or assault
- Horseback riding
- Accidents that involve slips and fall
- Fall from heights
- Bicycle accidents
Symptoms of whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash vary depending on how severe the trauma is. Some of its most common symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Sharp pain in the shoulders or upper back
One or all of these symptoms can occur following a potential whiplash injury. You may experience more severe symptoms if you experience a severe case of whiplash, such as:
- Speech defects or stuttering
- Blurred vision
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
If left unaddressed, these severe whiplash symptoms can last several months to a couple of years.
Short-term effects of whiplash
Whiplash effects can take time to develop, even the short-term ones. However, others can experience some symptoms immediately or hours after the accident or injury, but most cases can take days or weeks for the effects to manifest.
Some common short-term symptoms of whiplash are:
- Pain and aching in the neck
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain (usually radiating from the neck)
- Pins and needles sensation in the neck or surrounding area
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Limited range of motion in the neck
Be mindful, as in other severe whiplash cases, you may experience cognitive symptoms in the short term, including:
- Trouble concentrating
- Getting easily irritated
- Being easily distracted
Like in every health condition, every patient is different, but you have to keep in mind that if you experience more symptoms and if they occur longer and feel more severe, you are likely to experience long-term whiplash effects.
Long-term effects of whiplash
Whiplash injury can resolve within a few weeks or months from the accident, especially if you get adequate medical attention. But for some people, the pain, discomfort, and restriction linked to whiplash injury can last for years. Unfortunately for some, it can even last a lifetime.
Some long-term effects of whiplash are:
- Chronic stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders
- Bouts of dizziness
- Ringing in the ears that is either constant or comes and goes
- Pain in the upper or lower back
- Chronic and severe headaches
- Pain in the jaws
- Numbness, weakness, or sensory symptoms in the hands, arms, or legs
- Blurry vision
- Trouble sleeping
- Memory problems
- Ongoing difficulty concentrating
- Permanent personality changes
Who is at a higher risk of long-term whiplash effects?
People who are at a higher risk of long-term whiplash effects are those who:
- Involved in a serious vehicular accidents
- Ignored and did not receive medical attention right after the injury
- Suffered severe injury in the neck’s ligaments, discs, or joints
- Endured a spinal fracture and other severe injuries near the neck
- Got injured again while undergoing the initial healing process
- Has pre existing neck conditions (osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, etc.)
- Experienced severe inflammation due to whiplash
Long-term whiplash effects are not rare; in fact, over 71% of people who experience an initial case of whiplash still experience at least one symptom years after the injury. For example, if you got into an accident and suffered a whiplash-related injury, it may take two years before you fully recover. Symptoms may continue for at least one full year from the initial injury.
A natural and effective way to deal with whiplash
Upper cervical chiropractic care is a natural and unique chiropractic technique that can help manage whiplash and avoid its long-term effects. A chiropractor in Sioux Falls will do physical and imaging tests to determine if a misalignment occurred following the accident. Whiplash affects your neck, where you can find the upper cervical bones – C1 and C2 bones. Even the slightest misalignment in these vertebral bones can severely affect various body functions, including balance and proprioception.
Once a misalignment is confirmed, your doctor will recommend a regimen to correct the alignment. One session will not be enough to bring the spine back to its rightful position, but many patients have reported a great sense of relief after one session alone.
The main goal for the adjustment is to restore the healthy alignment of your spine to make your whole body communicate and function without possible hindrance along the way.
If you’re apprehensive about the procedure, you must know that it is natural, non-invasive, and your doctor will not force your spine to move. There won’t be cracking or popping sounds involved as well. You may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it should never hurt. Also, rest assured that you will receive customized adjustments. Dr. Weerheim will provide you with a tailored approach to correct postural imbalances in your cervical spine using your digital imaging scans and initial upper cervical chiropractic assessment.
A reputable chiropractor in Sioux Falls to help with whiplash
Dr. Casey Weerheim is the lead doctor of the Upper Cervical of Sioux Falls. He specializes in the Blair Upper Cervical Technique and helps patients manage their pain and symptoms, including whiplash and other health conditions. You may call our office at (605) 275-6900 or book online using our contact form to schedule an appointment.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Casey Weerheim call our Sioux Falls office at 605-250-2024. You can also click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.