Your neck is composed of seven tiny bones called vertebrae (the cervical spine) that support your head, along with discs between the bones for cushioning, and muscles and tendons that support those bones when moving. A sudden jerking motion can cause damage to your joints, discs, muscles, and/or tendons in your neck. Whiplash is a serious injury that if not properly treated can cause significant, lasting damage.
Dr. Shyam Purswani is an experienced and compassionate anesthesiologist and pain management doctor who is experienced in working with people suffering from whiplash. Dr. Purswani employs the latest techniques in treating his patients’ pain. He takes the time to carefully listen to his patients, develops customized treatment plans for each person, and supports each one in effective self-management of their pain.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury caused by an impact or blow that causes your head to snap backwards or forwards quickly, causing damage to your neck. Whiplash, also known as a neck strain, is caused by damage to the joints, discs, muscles, and/or tendons in your neck.
Although most people associate whiplash with car accidents, it can happen any time your head moves quickly in one direction. This can also be caused by a sports accident, slips and falls, physical abuse, or some other type of trauma. Regardless of what caused it, it’s important to get potential whiplash injuries checked out by a doctor.
What does whiplash feel like?
Depending on the location and severity of the injury, whiplash symptoms can vary. They typically include some of the following, and they usually develop within 24 hours of the injury:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Difficulty turning head
- Headaches that arise from the base of your skull
- Pain in shoulders, arms, or upper back
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Dizziness or fatigue
In some cases, you may have whiplash but not experience any of these symptoms. If you have been in an accident or experience a sports injury involving your head or neck, be sure to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Why you shouldn’t ignore whiplash pain
Whiplash can be a very serious injury, so don’t be tempted to ignore it. There are a number of reasons why you need to be examined by a doctor immediately.
Pain can be delayed
Some people don’t have any pain, or only experience mild pain, immediately after the incident that caused the whiplash. Sometimes pain doesn’t appear until hours, days, or even weeks later. If you have had some type of accident that could have caused a head or neck injury, get it checked out as soon as possible, before you’re incapacitated by pain.
If you have experienced an accident that could have caused an injury to your head or neck, it’s important to get checked out because you could have a number of injuries that need different types of care. Your doctor can tell you, by examining you and by using imaging tests such as X-rays, if you have any fractured or dislocated bones, a concussion, whiplash, or other head or neck injuries.
If you’re in pain, you may think that not using the painful muscles in your neck will make it better, but this can actually have the opposite effect. Resting can cause the muscles in your neck and shoulders to get stiff and weak, which can actually cause your pain to linger even longer.
Once your doctor diagnoses your injuries, he can tell you what levels of movement are safe and recommend therapy(ies) to alleviate your symptoms and help you get moving safely again. Without therapy, you could be looking at long-term neck pain and stiffness that can interfere with your daily life.
If you have been in an automobile accident or have experienced a sports injury or fall that may have caused injury to your head or neck, it’s important to get examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Whiplash, along with other injuries to the head and neck, can be quite serious. Dr. Shyam Purswani is a compassionate doctor who carefully examines and diagnoses your injuries and helps you find relief from your pain.