WHIPLASH

 

Description

  • Neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck
  • Soft tissues in the neck become stretched and damaged

Symptoms

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Less common symptoms:
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

Causes

  • Car accidents
  • Physical abuse (being punched or shaken)
  • Contact sports that involve tackling or physical contact
  • Horseback riding
  • Cycling accidents
  • Falls in which the head violently jerks backward
  • Blows to the head with a heavy object

Risk Factors

  • People who take part in cars and bike races
  • People involved in extreme contact sports
  • Rash drivers
  • Horse riding instructors

Diagnostic Tests

  • Examination of symptoms
  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans

Treatment

  • Rest
  • Apply ice or heat to the neck
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Foam collars

Exercises:

  • Rotate the neck in both directions
  • Tilt the head side to side
  • Bend neck toward the chest
  • Roll the shoulders

Medications

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
  • lidocaine (Xylocaine) injection

Prevention

  • Always wear helmets during driving cars and bikes
  • Wear properly fitted helmets
  • Use safety-gear while playing any contact sport
  • Do not get involved in any fights
  • Always maintain proper posture while sitting
  • Use pillow for support if sitting for longer hours
  • Stay active