Is It Whiplash?

After a day at Six Flags Over Texas and a few rides of Batman, Judge Roy Scream, and the other roller coasters and spinning rides, you may have a little stiffness in your neck. You could think you have whiplash, but you don’t. Those rides have head rests specifically designed to protect your neck from the twisting and G-forces applied. 

That’s not the case if you decide to give your kid’s skateboard a try and you take a tumble as your feet go out from under you. You could actually have some degree of whiplash now. 

The most well-known neck injury is whiplash, which takes its name from the whip. The movement right before a whip snaps is the thing to visualize. That rapid swaying of your neck backward and then forward or vice versa is the movement that occurs in whiplash. 

Basically, whiplash is the term for pain and stiffness in the neck after an injury that has caused the neck to move suddenly or beyond its normal range of motion. When whiplash occurs, the head is suddenly forced backward or forward and is then instantly snapped in the other direction. At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, Dr. Tinley diagnoses and treats whiplash to relieve the pain that accompanies it. 

What causes whiplash? 

The rapid movement from one direction and then violently in the opposite direction can happen from a variety of causes. Most often, car crashes are the cause of whiplash. This is especially true when the driver or passenger didn’t see the crash coming and wasn’t braced for it. This kind of action often happens when a car is rear ended, as the neck snaps either forward or backward. 

Otherwise, a person can get whiplash from a fall, say slipping on your front sidewalk stairs after a winter ice storm. It can occur from sport injuries, such as a blindside hit in a football game. An old carnival ride where the rider didn’t have his or her head braced against the headrest can cause whiplash. Or it can happen when a person, usually a baby, is roughly shaken. Whiplash is often a part of shaken baby syndrome. 

Women are more likely than men to experience whiplash. It’s thought that this is because men’s neck muscles and the muscles in the shoulders are generally stronger, limiting the movement of the neck. 

What are the symptoms? 

Patients who have suffered whiplash usually develop symptoms within 24 hours of the injury. But it isn’t unusual for other symptoms to appear, or for symptoms to worsen, weeks after the original injury. 

These are some of the physical injuries that may accompany whiplash: 

  •     Neck pain and stiffness
  •     Headaches, especially at the base of the skull
  •     Dizziness
  •     Blurred vision
  •     Ringing or buzzing in the ears

Whiplash can also be accompanied by the following cognitive or emotional symptoms: 

  •     Concentration difficulties
  •     Memory problems
  •     Sleep disturbances
  •     Depression, anxiety, irritability
  •     Fatigue

If you have any of the symptoms of whiplash, Dr. Tinley should see you at DFW. Call us at (817) 916-4685 to schedule your appointment.

Posted in: Whiplash

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