Common symptoms of whiplash

Cervicogenic headache or neck-related headaches is a common manifestation of Whiplash( Car accident, Football, or any other Head injuries). It may be caused by trauma to cervical disc, facet joint, or higher joints called the atlanto-occipital or atlantoaxial joints. Cervicogenic headaches can also make migraines worse. 

The second most common pain related to neck injury is arm pain, and the experience of numbness or heaviness may be due to nerve compression from a disc, which is easy for Dr.Gilak Newport Beach Chiropractor to diagnose it. 'Referred pain' is pain felt at a place away from the injured areas but not resulting from pressure on a nerve. It is common to experience arm pain after an accident.

Another common injury in a motor vehicle accident is Low back pain caused by trauma to the discs, facet joints, sacroiliac joints, or, only due to severe muscle spasm. 

Traumatic Brain Injury also occurs when the head hits any part of the vehicle or due to the airbag. As a result, the patient feels Difficulty with concentration or memory, headache, concussion, and many experience depression "(20-60 Patients with TBI)" experience depression later in life. Other symptoms might include Experiencing irritability and depression, Sleep disturbance, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, tingling in the face, and general fatigue.

Treatment of whiplash

  • The treatment of whiplash in the first eight weeks usually involves decreasing the inflammation, pain and strength training, and proper body mechanics instruction. Patients who do not get better after eight weeks or so require specialized treatment, often from a spine specialist or pain management based on the cause of the pain.

  • Strength training usually is incorporated as it is necessary to develop sufficient muscle strength to be able to hold the head and neck in positions at rest and during activity. Strengthening the neck and back muscles can also improve their range of motion, decreases spasm and inflammation. Proper body mechanics describes the interrelationship between the head, neck, upper body, low back during movement and at rest. 

  • Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) provided by chiropractors, osteopaths is one of the first treatments that many receive 

  • Medications are helpful for control of symptoms such as pain and muscle spasm. Various types of medication often prescribed for acute neck pain include NSAIDs anti inflmmatory drugs and opioid (narcotic) pain relievers in addition to muscle relaxants. Your physician chooses the medication based on the type, severity of pain. Chronic and severe neck pain traditionally treated by opioid analgesics and antidepressant medications. 

  • Spinal injections can be helpful in selected patients. Like medications, injections can not cure the problem and only included as part of our complete treatment program for whiplash injuries. Epidural are injections into the spinal canal can and provide short-term relief in cases of nerve compression with arm pain but are rarely useful for pure disc pain without radiating symptoms.

  •  Facet (zygapophysial) injections can have a temporary effect on neck pain. "Radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN) is a procedure that heats the nerves to stop them from conducting a pain signal. However, it is only useful for facet joint pain. "

  • Surgery for chronic neck pain recommended when specific signs and symptoms are present. We recommend surgery when a discs pathology and other underlying spine pathology are the cause of the pain, or when the patient is very disabled, yet psychologically healthy, and has not responded to conservative care. We work with very selective Spine surgeons who can guide you through your path to recovery as surgery is done more often when the pressure on the spinal cord has compromised the activities of daily living. It is pertinent that patients get operated. After surgery, proper rehabilitation of the spine is also crucial in proper recovery.

How to Diagnose a whiplash related injury

We do know that the muscles and ligaments get strained and are probably inflamed after an injury, however Disc injury or a facet joint can mostly be suspected after a whiplash. However, it is impossible to know the exact nature of the injury in the days or weeks after a car accident; therefore, after a thorough examination, your physician may use the following imaging to help her guide the to the right diagnosis.

X-ray

MRI

Medial Branch Block(MBB) - If a facet joint injury is suspected, it manifest as tenderness to the touch, and facet pain can easily be mistaken for muscle pain. The way to tell the difference is by performing MBB. ( which usually done by a Pain Management Specialist)

If you have whiplash 

Be mindful of getting the proper treatment as the disc injuries untreated or poorly treated is the of the primary causes of chronic neck pain. About 25% of patients with chronic neck pain report disc or facet injuries, and in some cases, can be both disc pain and facet pain. impingement syndrome due to a disc herniation where the nerve is getting pressure resulting in arm pain is also seen in some cases.

Our Chiropractor in Newport Beach can help relieve the pain of whiplash and regain range of motion. Getting proper care, you are likely to recover quickly from whiplash injuries. Dr.Gilda Gilak is part of the Ichthus Injury Network and works with many Spine specialists, pain management, and other specialists to get you the care you need. Feel free to give us a call or come in for an appointment. 

References: www.spine.org

Safety of Chiropractic Care Based on Research.

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Newport Beach Chiropractor serving: Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Irvine, Tustin, Costa Mesa, Orange and Los Angeles County