Dealing With Whiplash Injury


    Although most people associate with whiplash with motor vehicle crashes, the injury can also be caused through sporting accidents and trauma and cause serious pain.

    Whiplash is a common neck injury caused by rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Although it is usually caused by someone being involved in a motor vehicle accident, specifically being hit from the back, whiplash injury can be incurred from trauma or even from contact sports. Owing to its nature, whiplash injury can be diagnosed through a complete medical history and physical exam, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan.

    Whiplash causes neck stiffness and tenderness. Symptoms of the injury may travel to shoulders, upper back and arms. In some cases of whiplash, it can cause blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. With symptoms like these anyone should seek treatment with some amount of urgency.

    When one suffers whiplash injury, even the simplest of tasks can become difficult because it affects some people more severely than others and simple tasks such as turning your head can be difficult. The level of discomfort from the injury that someone experiences usually inhibits their usual ability to function which will begin to impede their daily lives because they may have difficulty working, doing chores and other activities.

    Globally, whiplash injury affects millions of persons. In the United States of America, it is estimated to affect more than 2 million persons annually. In the United Kingdom, it is said to make up more than 10 per cent of all motor vehicle claims. There is no data to say how many persons are treated in Jamaica annually.

    In terms of treatment, whiplash injury is treated with a combination of medical and Physiotherapy management.

    Persons with a whiplash injury will more than likely be prescribed painkillers and/or muscle relaxants while Physiotherapy will employ a multi-modal treatment to reduce the pain and restore function through exercise.

    The treatment can last over several weeks, but as you might imagine this depends on some variables like how often the person receives physiotherapy treatment, the severity of the injury, the person’s physiology, that is their own body’s response to treatment etc.

    Like any other injury or illness, whiplash injury should be taken seriously because it can cause discomfort over the short or even long-term. Also, some research suggests that older persons are more likely to be affected than younger persons and so we encourage persons to seek medical attention if they are affected. They should also follow the advice of their health care professionals and stick to the prescribed treatment. Remember, your health is one the most important things you are blessed with and so all efforts must be made to ensure that it is maintained.

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