Now that we are well into spring, road trip season is nearly upon us, athletes throughout Overland Park are ramping up their activities, and people everywhere are becoming more active as the days get warmer. But as you become more active, you may also be at a greater risk of sustaining one of the most common neck injuries that can affect people of all ages: whiplash.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck that is caused by a sudden jarring of the neck and head due to a strong and sudden force, such as being rear-ended. As the head and neck are swiftly whipped back-and-forth, forward-and-backward, or side-to-side, the soft tissues in the neck (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) flex and extend suddenly, injuring the neck, shoulders, and even the upper back.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash symptoms typically develop within 24-48-hours after the injury occurs. Often, symptoms won’t appear for weeks to even months. Whiplash symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness and tightness in the neck and shoulders
  • Reduced or complete loss of range of motion
  • Tenderness in the neck, base of the skull, shoulders, and upper back
  • Numbness and tingling that radiates down one or both arms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Six Surprising Facts About Whiplash

At Adjust Your Health Chiropractic and Massage, we want to help our patients in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Leawood, Shawnee, and beyond stay healthy and informed about potential injuries that could be sustained while driving, playing sports, or simply tripping and falling while on a walk.

Today, we will share five things you may not know about whiplash to help prevent this neck injury from occurring, while enlightening you about the importance of receiving whiplash treatment should you become injured. If you are already suffering from a whiplash injury, reach out to your Overland Park chiropractor to schedule an appointment for gentle (no twist) chiropractic care, medical massage, or electroacupuncture.

#1 – There Are Many Ways To Sustain Whiplash

Many people think that the only way to sustain a whiplash injury is in a car accident. The truth is, there are many ways to get whiplash. Getting rear-ended, rear-ending someone else, or even getting t-boned are the most common causes of whiplash; however, playing contact sports, riding on a rollercoaster, or even rocing out at a rock concert can cause whiplash. Basically, anytime the neck is suddenly whipped in any direction, the rapid force and motion can injure the neck tissues, causing mild to severe symptoms.

#2 – You Shouldn’t Ignore the Symptoms

If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury, chances are you’ll experience symptoms immediately following the injury, but sometimes you might not feel anything for hours, days, or weeks. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, have taken a hard fall while walking or riding your bike, or took a huge hit while playing football, for instance, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention to get checked out at the very least. You can always come to see your Overland Park chiropractor to get examined. The important thing is that you don’t ignore the injury and correlating symptoms.   

#3 – It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Force for Whiplash to Occur

Did you know that a whiplash injury can occur as a result of a low-speed, low-impact car accident? It’s true. If you get rear-ended by someone going as slow as five-to-ten miles per hour, you could still suffer a whiplash injury. Another way to think about it is that when you watch the Chiefs play and you see a linebacker crush the quarterback in one fell swoop. Human-to-human contact can cause a whiplash injury just as easily as a car crash can.

#4 – A Whiplash Injury Can Cause Lasting Pain

Whiplash injuries are treatable through chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, and other treatments. It is, however, more beneficial for the healing and recovery process to receive a prompt diagnosis from your chiropractor or medical doctor so you can begin whiplash treatment. Ignoring the symptoms or trying to “deal” with the pain on your own can lead to lasting symptoms that could become chronic. Additionally, severe whiplash injuries can also cause chronic pain, headaches, and other symptoms. Your best option is to seek treatment immediately.

#5 – Risk Factors of Whiplash Injuries

Many people are at risk of sustaining a whiplash injury. Here are some common risk factors to be aware of:

  • Age – As we age, the tissues in our bodies begin to wear down over time as a result of decades of wear-and-tear on bones, joints, muscles, and supportive tissues. As a result, older people are typically more susceptible to whiplash injuries and could experience a more severe injury and therefore, more severe symptoms and in some cases, longer recovery times.
  • Athletes – Athletes of all levels and abilities push their bodies to their maximum potential. As a result, performance-related injuries often include injuries to the neck and head in the form of whiplash. What’s more, athletes who play contact sports, where human collisions are the norm, are at a higher risk of suffering whiplash.
  • Neck Injuries – For people who have sustained one or more neck injuries, especially if they did not receive treatment for them, or the injury didn’t heal properly, are highly susceptible to whiplash injuries given the right circumstances.  

#6 – Gentle Chiropractic Care Can Help You Heal

If you or someone you love has sustained a whiplash injury, whether from a car accident, a sports injury, or any other cause, your chiropractor can effectively treat your neck injury. At Adjust Your Health Chiropractic and Massage, we offer whiplash treatment for patients of all ages to help them heal naturally. Contact your Top Rated Local® Overland Park chiropractor to schedule a consultation for gentle (no twist) chiropractic care to treat your whiplash injury. We have an in-house radiologist if x-rays are needed and we will create a personalized treatment plan to target and treat your injury. Contact us today to get started.