The immediate shock of being involved in a car crash followed by the onset of pain due to whiplash
is a something that a number of motorists experience at some point in their driving career.
Many a road traffic accident claim will feature a whiplash injury and the pain can sometimes be
chronic and affect many parts of your previous lifestyle.
The first thing to do is understand what a whiplash injury actually is and what the symptoms are.
When you receive an injury to the ligaments and tendons in the neck as a result of a sudden impact
like a car crash, this is referred to as a whiplash injury.
It is quite common that immediately after the initial impact you might not experience any noticeable
pain or discomfort, but about six hours or more after the impact, you may start to develop classic
whiplash symptoms, which may even worsen over the following days.
Common whiplash symptoms include neck pain and reduced movement of the neck, it also normally
results in experiencing headaches, stiffness and a general tenderness in that area of your body.
It is the sudden jolt of an impact caused by a car crash or maybe a sports injury that will often result
in a whiplash injury.
One of the problems associated with diagnosing whiplash is that the injury caused to your soft tissues
such as disks, ligaments and muscles does not show up on a standard X-ray.
The diagnosis and subsequent confirmation that you have a whiplash injury often results from an
examination and a line of question about the circumstances of your injury and the symptoms you
There are more specialist imaging tests that can be carried out using a CT scan or an MRI to confirm
your injury but these are not routinely done unless there is a suspicion or sufficient concern that
you might have a spinal injury.
The healing process
A simple ice pack can be applied to the tender area within the first 24 hours of your injury to relieve
some of the pain and maybe reduce swelling.
Subsequent massage treatment and gentle aerobic exercise as guided by your doctor or specialist
might help in some minor cases of whiplash, but if the injuries are more severe or persistent, there
are other strategies that may have to be deployed to boost the healing process.
Sadly, not everyone simply experiences minor whiplash and recovers within just a few weeks or
months of treatment and pain medication.
In some cases, it might be considered necessary to offer some pain relief through the use of spinal
If a patient is displaying significant paraesthesia of the arms, there is the possibility of
radiofrequency neurotomy, which involves heating the affected nerves to prevent them from
conducting pain signals.
Surgery for the chronic neck pain associated with a whiplash injury is rarely needed and there are
often ways to alleviate the pain and get you back on track, although some people take longer than
others to recover from the effects of a sudden impact injury such as this.
Shawna Ramos works as a physio and sees plenty of whiplash woes and back injuries. She likes to
share her insights and tips with an online audience and writes regularly for several health and