A traumatic injury that causes your head to snap backwards or forwards straining the delicate soft tissues of the neck is known as a whiplash injury. You may experience it as a tightening feeling in the area of the neck and shoulders, which occurs immediately after the injury or develops slowly over time.
Here are the top 5 common causes of neck strain (whiplash):
- Motor vehicle accidents, mainly rear-ended collisions.
- Physical abuse, such being vigorously shaken by the shoulders or punched in the face.
- Blows to the head with a heavy object
- Sports injury in contact sports such as football, boxing, or MMA
- Falls to the ground in which the head is jerked back violently
In addition to the neck pain and stiffness, you may also experience headaches at the base of the skull, blurry vision, and dizziness. Less common symptoms include ringing in the ears, irritability, and loss of concentration.
You need to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have pain with moving your head after the injury or you have pain, numbness and weakness that radiates into your arms or legs or have bowel or bladder problems.
Your doctor will ask questions about the injury or accident, discuss your symptoms, perform a physical examination, and order imaging studies if required to arrive at a diagnosis.
Treatment of whiplash injury or neck strain will vary depend on the severity of the condition. Most often, patients only require pain medications and physical therapy and can expect to make full recovery in less than 3 months. On very rare occasions, patients may have headaches or neck pain for years afterward that can be traced by to a whiplash injury.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra has been practicing orthopedic surgery in the Washington DC Metropolitan area since 1984. The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is easily accessed from anywhere in the Washington DC metropolitan area with offices located in Falls Church, Reston/Herndon and Tysons Corner. For all appointments and inquiries, please call 703 848-0800 or click here to request an appointment online.