Whiplash injuries result from the force hyperextension / hyperflexion of the neck. Whiplash is the most common injury sequelae following motor vehicle accidents. Research has shown that whiplash symptoms last more than 6 months in 75% of patients. Most symptoms of whiplash do not commonly appear until a week or even a month after an accident. On average, whiplash victims lose an average of 8 weeks of work. Rear-end collisions typically cause more cervical spine damage than do frontal or side collisions, speed is not the main factor in the extent of the injuries, speeds of as little as 5mph have been documented to result in whiplash.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is the term given to a forced forward flexion and /or backward extension of the neck. This is the result of a violent and sudden acceleration (or deceleration), commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents. The soft tissue structures of the head and neck can be over stretched causing a sprain/ strain injury. If the force is great enough, tendons can be ripped from muscle and ligaments and tear bones apart.
Patients with whiplash injuries typically present with neck pain, tenderness, achiness and stiffness. Cervical muscle spasms, tenderness and trigger points in cervical musculature is common. Most patients experienced a greatly reduced range of motion in their neck and back. Headaches, (including migraine and muscle-tension headaches) are almost often present. Individuals with whiplash commonly experience shoulder pain, pain between the shoulder blades, hand / finger pain, shooting pain down the arm (s), and/or numbness and tingling. Less commonly, but not less severe is blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, balance problems and cognitive issues.
Your treatment plan will be unique to you. Our goals will be to effectively reduce pain levels, reduce muscles spasms, eliminate inflammation, restore normal joint motion and biomechanics, prevent or minimize degenerative processes and minimize the likelihood of future recurrences. Treatment plans vary from each individual patient. There are several factors that influence the frequency and duration of your care:
- Severity of the injury
- How soon after treatment was initiated
- Patient compliance to the treatment plan
- The presence of preexisting spinal conditions
- Age, sex and general health prior to the accident
- Size and strength of the cervical musculature
- Size and speed of your vehicle and other vehicles involved
- Whether or not seat belts were worn
- whether you were aware of the impending accident
- Headrest height, air bag deployment
The fastest way to eliminate pain and prevent chronic problems is to seek treatment right away. The longer you wait, the worse your condition may become and the harder it may be to eliminate the symptoms. Research has shown that many whiplash injuries result in chronic and lifelong conditions without immediate and appropriate care. Individuals with any degree of neck complaints following a motor vehicle accident can dramatically improve their prognosis by not procrastinating!
How Can Dr. Fuhrmann Help?
Dr. Fuhrmann will do a thorough history and physical exam to determine what treatment plan is best for you. If diagnostic imaging is indicated, you will be referred to the area’s most advanced imaging group. Dr. Fuhrmann will review your study with you and answer any questions you may have.
Treating musculoskeletal injuries is what we do! Once a diagnosis is reached, Dr. Fuhrmann has several treatment options available to reduce and eliminate your pain:
- Spinal Decompression
- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Soft Tissue Therapy /KT tape / Trigger point Therapy
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Cold Laser / Low Level Laser
- TENS / Muscle Stimulation
- Rehabilitative Exercises
- Patient Education
- Referral to Specialists
- Neck brace, at home traction units, back brace, at home IF units.