Whiplash by Jackie Manning, ARNP

When circumstances around us change quickly, we often complain of whiplash! In this sense, the phrase can refer to an emotional reaction.

But what exactly is whiplash in a physical sense? If you don’t know the answer, then that’s good news! You probably don’t have it.

“Whiplash-associated disorders” (WAD) is the term given to the variety of symptoms that patients often report following acceleration/deceleration injury to the neck. One of the chief complaints is neck pain. Other common symptoms include neck stiffness, dizziness, paranesthesia/anesthesia in the upper quadrant, headache and arm pain.

It’s one of the most common complaints after a traffic crash. An estimated 300 per 100,000 North Americans head to the emergency rooms yearly for whiplash. More than half of cases result in chronic symptoms, and according to research, women are five times more likely than men, to suffer from whiplash symptoms.

Fortunately, management strategies can help! Relief techniques depend on the stage. In the acute stage of the first 0-12 weeks, a doctor in urgent care or a patient’s primary care physician will evaluate the situation and proceed with imaging testing when necessary. Ice is one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory remedies. In the early days of pain, apply an ice pack to the painful area 3-4 times a day for 10 minutes at a time for the first week following an injury.

If chronic conditions develop, they are typically identified when pain continues past the point of the 12-week mark following the injury. This is when it’s time to call a specialist.

If you are still feeling pain more than three months after your whiplash injury, please give us a call. We want to walk beside you on your road to recovery.