Anyone who’s ever developed a stiff, painful neck after a rear-end collision can attest, whiplash can be a perplexing injury. That’s because whiplash symptoms don’t always show up right away; sometimes they can take days or even weeks to appear. Dr. Albert Latronica has extensive experience helping people avoid spinal injury complications following car accidents. He serves patients from across Bucks County at Latronica Chiropractic in Furlong, Pennsylvania.

Whiplash Q & A

by Albert Latronica, DC

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is the name given to the trauma that’s caused by the forceful back-and-forth movement of the vertebrae in your neck, also known as your cervical spine. Although whiplash can happen in a serious fall, physical assault, or during contact sports, it’s most often the result of a rear-end collision or some other type of car accident.

Whiplash causes your spine to move rapidly, much like the cracking of a whip. Such injuries typically cause trauma to the discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and surrounding tissues in your neck.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Although whiplash symptoms don’t always appear immediately following an accident or incident, many people who sustain a neck injury develop symptoms within 24 hours of the trauma. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Headaches: Which often start at the base of your skull
  • Tenderness or pain that radiates through your shoulders, upper back, and arms
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in your arms
  • Dizziness or fatigue

Less common symptoms include, blurry vision, ringing in your ears, an inability to sleep, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Why is it important to seek treatment?

Even if your car hasn’t sustained much damage, it’s important not to minimize your risk of internal injury after an auto accident. If you experience the initial symptoms of a neck injury after a crash — or a traumatic fall — it’s in your best interest to seek medical care as soon as possible. That’s because patients who experience whiplash symptoms soon after sustaining trauma are more likely to develop long-term, chronic neck pain if their injuries are left untreated. Those who delay seeking appropriate care are also more likely to discover that scar tissue and spinal instability require routine chiropractic checkups. With a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment, however, most patients will go on to recover completely in a matter of months.

How can chiropractic care help?

Dr. Latronica uses a combination of chiropractic care and physical therapy exercises to treat whiplash injuries. Specific chiropractic adjustments can help restore proper motion and position of the individual joints in your cervical spine, which helps assure proper healing. Corrective exercises improve muscular strength and posture to help you regain normal movement, while stretching exercises increase neck and back mobility and restore overall range of motion.

In addition to alleviating pain as your injury heals, this treatment approach promotes faster, more complete recovery and reduces the likelihood of developing future neck problems.

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