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Everything You Need To Know About Whiplash

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that commonly occurs after traumas like a car accident. When your head is forcefully thrown backward, forwards or sideways, this causes damage to the soft tissue in your neck. This force causes extreme stretching of the neck which then whips back in the other direction.

Although car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash in the UK, you can also get whiplash while playing sports or from an attack. Much of your spine is quite rigid, and this provides some protection and support. Your neck, however, was designed by evolution to be flexible which means it is less protected and more vulnerable.

What are the causes of whiplash?

As we said, most whiplash cases are attributed to car accidents. In fact, around three-quarters of insurance claims following road traffic accidents involve a whiplash claim. Whiplash in a car accident typically occurs when a vehicle is suddenly hit from the side, front or rear. This huge amount of force causes your head and upper body to be thrown in one direction. If you’re wearing a seatbelt, as the belt braces you, you are then flung back in the opposite direction. This hyper-extension and then recoil causes damage to the tendons and ligaments in your neck.

Other causes of whiplash include:

  • An abrupt blow to the head during sports like rugby or boxing
  • Falls that cause a jolt like falling down stairs or a bike accident
  • Getting hit on the head by a heavy object

The symptoms of whiplash

With whiplash, it’s common that you may not have any noticeable symptoms, to begin with mainly because you will usually be in a state of shock. Symptoms of whiplash can take a few hours to emerge. In most cases, they are worse the day after the injury and will likely get worse over the next few days.

Symptoms of whiplash can include though are not limited to:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck tenderness, pain and discomfort
  • Jaw pain
  • Limited movement in the neck
  • Weakness and numbness in the legs, arms and shoulders
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss

Some of the above symptoms can indicate damage to vital structures in your neck like your nerves, airways or cervical discs. If you’ve had any of the following, go to the nearest A&E department:

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Problems breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe ongoing pain
  • A headache
  • Numbness or tingling
  • A ringing in your ears

It’s vital that you get these symptoms seen to as quickly as you can. These are clear signs of something more than whiplash, such as bone damage (fracture).

Complications from whiplash

Complications from whiplash are as varied as the symptoms, however, some of the complications are:

  • Days off of work
  • Trouble completing daily tasks
  • Psychological problems
  • Chronic pain syndrome

This is why it’s so vital that you get a diagnosis for any pain that you are in and then treatment. Numerous patients of ours come to us after suffering from symptoms of whiplash for months. There is no need to wait that long if you have an issue with your neck, make an appointment using the contact buttons below and allow us to diagnose and treat the condition causing your pain.

Diagnosing whiplash

When you come to The Mayfair Clinic, your whiplash treatment always begins with a consultation. During this consultation, we examine your neck and ask you to tell us everything you can about how it happened, when it happened, the other symptoms you’ve had and what you’ve done to try and help alleviate the pain from your whiplash. We will also ask you more personal questions, not too personal, but about your life and the things you’ve been struggling to do with your neck pain.

After the physical exam and we have got to know you and your condition, we may send you for imaging tests, if you haven’t had any yet. We work with some of the best imaging companies in London, so your tests will be back with us promptly, often within 24 hours. Once we have these x-ray or MRI scan test results, we can then begin to piece everything together to find the exact cause of your neck pain & importantly how best to treat you.

Whiplash treatments

Once we have determined what is causing your neck pain, in this case, whiplash, we can begin creating a treatment programme for you. As whiplash has a lot of symptoms and different ways that it affects people’s lives, we tailor our whiplash treatments to suit individuals. So, although we can’t tell you the specifics of your unique whiplash treatment, we can give you an indication of what your treatment may consist of.

One of the treatments that gives excellent results for people suffering from whiplash is our laser therapy treatment. It’s a non-invasive treatment that uses a laser to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time. Laser therapy may still be used if you have no swelling as the healing effects of the laser will still work. Effectively this treatment speeds up the recovery time by pushing more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the affected area. So, the healing is still totally natural, the laser just speeds up the process of your body healing the issue. With whiplash, soft tissue injury is very common which is why Laser is such a great choice.

If you have any damage to your cervical discs, spinal decompression can be used to alleviate the pain. This treatment stretches your spine in a controlled way to release the pressure that your spine is under. You may notice the effects of this treatment within minutes of it being started. We can also use spinal impulse adjustment to correct any joints in your spine that may have moved during the accident or injury.

In most whiplash treatments we will use a combination of these treatments to ensure a complete recovery. Your treatment doesn’t end after recovery though. We do follow-ups with all our whiplash patients to ensure there are no complications from whiplash still present. Overall, the aim is to heal every person who walks into The Mayfair Clinic and regular check-ups after your treatment is the perfect way to ensure this happens.

If you’d like to find out more about our whiplash treatments or you’d like to book in to see one of our neck specialists, please use the contact buttons below. We are always happy to create a tailor-made treatment programme to get you back on your feet after an injury or an accident.

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