In the United States, more than two million people experience a neck sprain, commonly referred to as whiplash, every single year. Typically, this injury happens as the result of the neck being snapped backward and then forward – a whipping motion, if you will. This rapid movement often results in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the neck stretching and tearing.
When we hear someone has a neck sprain or whiplash, we typically assume they have been involved in a car accident. However, this is not the only circumstance that can lead to this type of neck injury. Other causes of whiplash include:
- Sports injury
- Physical abuse
- Cycling accidents
- Horseback riding
- Blows to the head
Common Symptoms of a Neck Sprain
Typically, the symptoms of whiplash will show up within 24 hours of the accident. However, some people do not notice the symptoms until several days after the incident. If left untreated, they can last for up to several weeks.
A neck sprain can range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. An accident injury doctor will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine whether or not you have indeed suffered a whiplash injury.
But how do you know if you have it? Here is a look at the top symptoms of a neck sprain:
- Neck pain
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased range of motion
- Headaches that start at the base of the skull
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Pain that worsens when you move your neck
- Tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Memory disturbances
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleep disturbances
Facts About Whiplash
Whiplash doesn’t only happen as a result of rear-end car accidents. And, it doesn’t take a lot of force for the neck to become strained. Many people make the mistake of thinking they are ‘fine’ following an injury to the neck, but it is imperative your symptoms are checked as soon as possible. The longer your symptoms persist, the more dangerous the consequences.
Furthermore, resting in the hopes that a neck sprain will fix itself is a huge mistake that could prolong the pain and impact your long-term health.
Treating a Neck Sprain
If you are experiencing neck pain or any of the other symptoms listed above following an accident, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Treatment for a neck sprain will depend on a host of factors, including the nature of the incident and how severe the injuries are. Extensive tissue damage can lead to more intense symptoms, which is why early diagnosis is key.
Some of the most effective treatment options for a neck sprain include:
- Physical therapy
- Heat and cold therapy
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Muscle relaxers
- Neck surgery in severe cases
At OSA, we strive to provide our patients with natural treatment options that address concerns relating to injuries such as whiplash.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Vero Beach or the surrounding cities and you have whiplash as a result, please contact OSA and schedule an appointment with our orthopedic doctor. The sooner you receive treatment, the better. To learn more about how we treat neck sprain, or if you have been injured and have questions about your symptoms, give us a call today.