Whiplash is one of the most commonly reported injuries in rear-end car accidents. Each year, an estimated 3 million Americans suffer from this type of injury. Around 1.5 million Americans also experience chronic pain from whiplash, with roughly 300,000 becoming disabled as a result.
Most whiplash injuries occur at crash speeds of less than 12 mph, with some research indicating that even speeds as low as 5 mph can result in injury.
Given the potential for long-term pain and disability, receiving proper whiplash injury treatment in Easley, SC is crucial. At Injury Medicine, our experienced specialists are dedicated to providing effective treatment for car accident injuries, including whiplash.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs due to a sudden and forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. Although the exact nature and cause of this injury are still being studied by medical professionals, it is believed to involve the nerves, tendons, muscles, and discs in the neck.
Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash injuries typically occur when there is a sudden change in acceleration or deceleration, commonly caused by a vehicle collision. However, it can also happen during contact sports, gymnastics, or slips and falls. Any activity that involves sudden and unnatural movement of the neck can result in a whiplash injury.
Symptoms of whiplash can vary depending on the extent of the damage to the nerve roots, cervical muscles, ligaments, discs, and spinal joints. Some symptoms may present themselves immediately after the accident, while others may not appear for several days.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder or back pain
- Itching, burning, or tingling sensation in the shoulders, neck, or arms
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Memory problems
- Blurred vision
Without proper diagnosis and treatment, the injuries can worsen. It’s crucial to seek proper medical attention and address any issues as soon as possible after sustaining a neck injury. Ignoring the symptoms will only lead to further complications.
At Injury Medicine, we offer effective whiplash treatment in Easley to help you recover from your injuries and get back to your normal routine.
To diagnose whiplash, a physical examination, and a comprehensive medical history are usually conducted along with diagnostic imaging tests, including X-rays. Here are the commonly used tests for diagnosing whiplash injuries.
An x-ray is a common diagnostic test used to examine internal structures in the body. During the procedure, electromagnetic beams are projected onto the affected area and onto the x-ray film located behind the area. The beams are absorbed by calcium in the body, projecting an image of internal bones, organs, and tissues onto the film. This image is then used to diagnose injuries or abnormalities.
However, an x-ray test isn’t a comprehensive diagnostic tool as soft tissue injuries cannot be spotted using this method.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MRIs are frequently used as a diagnostic tool to generate detailed images of soft tissue structures and organs in the body, by utilizing a combination of computers and large magnets.
A CT scan is a diagnostic tool that uses a combination of computers and X-rays to produce detailed images of the affected body part. Compared to X-rays, CT scans offer more precise and detailed information for a more thorough injury diagnosis.
Treatment for a Whiplash Injury
Treatment plans for whiplash injuries are personalized to meet the specific needs of each patient based on factors such as medical history, overall health, age, the extent of injuries, and personal preferences. Our team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that takes all of these factors into consideration, as well as your tolerance for different procedures and therapies.
Whiplash treatment options may include:
- Application of ice during the first 24 hours after injury
- Use of a cervical collar for neck support
- Gentle movement of the neck after the first 24 hours
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for pain relief
- Muscle relaxants
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Numbing medication
Applying ice during the first 24 hours after an injury can help reduce pain and swelling, and after this initial period, heat may be applied to loosen and relax tight muscles.
It’s important to avoid prolonged rest, as this may weaken sore muscles and prolong recovery time. Instead, gradually resuming normal activities can help increase mobility and strengthen muscles.
While most patients recover from whiplash injuries within three months, around a quarter may experience symptoms for up to a year.
Treatments We Can Provide
At Injury Medicine, we provide a range of effective treatment methods for whiplash injuries. Our experts will start by conducting a thorough physical exam and may use some of the aforementioned tests to accurately assess your condition. Based on the extent of your injuries, we will develop a customized treatment plan to help alleviate your pain and promote healing.
Here are some of the treatment methods we use.
- Chiropractic Adjustments: Our experts use spinal manipulation to improve spinal alignment and reduce pain.
- Medication: We can prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medication to manage your pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are typically used as a first line of treatment.
- Nerve Blocks: We may use this method to provide relief from pain. It involves injecting medication around a bundle of nerves to temporarily block them from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Radiofrequency Ablation: This treatment method uses radio waves to generate heat and prevent nerve signals from reaching your brain, providing longer-lasting pain relief.
- Spinal Cord Stimulator: This is an implantable device that uses a controlled electrical current to block pain signals from reaching your brain. It is often preferred by patients over spine surgery.
- Injections for Pain: We may recommend injections, such as epidural steroid injections or facet joint injections, to relieve pain caused by compressed nerve roots.
- Orthopedic Surgery: If other treatment methods don’t provide relief from chronic pain, our doctors may recommend orthopedic surgery. Various surgical options are available depending on your diagnosis and age.
- Kyphoplasty: This minimally invasive procedure can help relieve pain caused by vertebral compression fractures by injecting quick-drying bone cement into the affected area to restore function and strength.
Call About Whiplash Injury Treatment in Easley Today!
If you have been involved in a car accident and are experiencing physical symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention for a proper diagnosis. Even though whiplash injuries are not visible, they can cause severe pain if left untreated.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as neck instability, weakness, numbness, coordination problems, memory issues, shoulder or arm pain, or tingling after an accident, contact Injury Medicine. Our experts in Easley, SC can provide a range of treatment options to help you recover and improve your quality of life.
Call us now at 864-866-PAIN to schedule an appointment with one of our whiplash injury specialists.