If you’ve been in a car crash or suffered a collision while playing sports, you may have whiplash. Whiplash is a cluster of symptoms that may arise after your head and neck have been subjected to severe back-and-forth or side-to-side jerking motions that injure the tissues, nerves, and bones in your cervical spine. If left untreated, whiplash can lead to permanent damage and disability.
The cervical spine, which is located in your neck, is the thinnest part of your spine. Your cervical spine connects your head to your spinal column and must also bear its weight. This combination makes your cervical spine particularly susceptible to injury.
At Watson Chiropractic, our expert chiropractors know how common whiplash is, and how easy it may be to write off the initial symptoms. The trauma and fear triggered by your accident cause your body to release adrenaline and endorphins that can dull pain for the first few days or weeks. The delayed response may even prevent you from connecting your symptoms to your accident.
But if you have the following signs and symptoms, your fender bender or sports injury may have caused whiplash:
1. You can’t turn your head
A stiff neck is the classic sign of whiplash. Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons may have been sprained or strained by the hyperextension of your head and neck. The force could also have jolted your vertebrae out of alignment, fractured them, or herniated or misaligned your soft, cushioning vertebral discs.
If you notice that your neck is stiff, painful, or has limited mobility, see the experts at Watson Chiropractic right away. When your neck isn’t supported by your neck muscles and other tissues, it can become unstable over time.
2. You have headaches, brain fog, or moodiness
Many men, women, and children who have whiplash also suffer a concussion. Though you might think of a concussion as losing consciousness, it’s actually more of a “brain bruise.” Even if you don’t lose consciousness, the force of your brain moving suddenly forward or backward, crashing against your skull, can harm it.
You may have trouble focusing or remembering. Headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and feeling anxious or irritable are other signs of a concussion. If you have any kind of head-, mood-, or memory-related symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Untreated concussions can cause serious and potentially chronic problems, including seizures.
3. Your ears ring
The constant ringing sound caused by tinnitus may just seem annoying, but it’s a sign that your nerves, veins, or brain were injured in your accident. Severe tinnitus can become so distracting that it impairs your ability to concentrate and may even make it difficult to hear. See the specialists at Watson Chiropractic to get treatment for tinnitus as soon as possible to prevent the ringing from worsening.
4. Eating or swallowing hurts
The hyperextension of your neck and head that occurs during whiplash can also affect your jaw. The force of the accident can throw your jaw out of alignment and damage the soft tissues that allow it to open and close with ease. At Watson Chiropractic, we get your spine and jaw back in alignment and heal the tissues so you can speak, yawn, and eat without pain.
5. Other parts of your body hurt or tingle
That tingling sensation in your fingers might actually be a sign of whiplash. Even though the initial injury took place in your cervical spine, other areas of your body could also be injured either by the crash itself or by trying to compensate for the fact that your cervical spine can no longer adequately support your head and neck. Injured nerves and soft tissues can lead to lower back pain, pain or impaired mobility in your lower limbs, and other symptoms.
At Watson Chiropractic, we know that all of the systems of your body are interconnected. That’s why our goal is always to restore healthy alignment of your spine, which allows the rest of your body to function optimally as well.
When you suffer a car crash or other accident, get evaluated and treated as soon as possible to avoid long-term consequences of whiplash or other injuries. Call the office or book an appointment online today.