The neck is among the most forgotten and neglected parts of the body until it sustains an injury during an accident. Then, you can’t perform even the most basic tasks like turning your head to look around or nodding in agreement. Your neck supports your head, an important role often taken for granted.
Dr. Grigory Goldberg, M.D., our orthopedic spine specialist in New Jersey, can help you regain strength and control with diverse treatment techniques. If you have trouble lifting or turning your head following a car, sports, or work accident, seek immediate whiplash treatment for faster relief and a better prognosis as you recover.
What is whiplash, anyway? Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head rapidly moves back and forth.
For example, a car driving 45 MPH hits another car’s rear end. Both drivers are stationary in their seats. Once their cars collide, the impact of the moving car forces their necks to hyperextend while supporting the weight of their heads.
This movement puts stress on their neck muscles, resulting in neck pain and stiffness. Sometimes, this pain resolves after a week or so. Often, the person suffering from whiplash needs whiplash treatment from a doctor.
Car wrecks or sports injuries are often the main causes of whiplash. In fact, an accident analysis published on ScienceDirect examined car accidents that resulted in 869,000 cervical spine injuries. Of those spinal injuries, 841,000 were whiplash injuries.
The rapid movement strains the muscles, resulting in immediate or eventual pain along the neck, shoulders, and upper back. However, your potential to develop severe whiplash injuries increases with certain characteristics. For example:
While you can adjust your car seat or make sure you wear safety equipment during sports, you can’t control your sex or medical history. Therefore, you should carefully gauge your symptoms and comfort levels following an accident.
Pain and stiffness in and around your neck are among the most common symptoms of whiplash. However, this type of injury can also cause symptoms in other parts of your body. For example, Shelby Simon’s article on Forbes Advisor lists headaches as a possible whiplash symptom. But neck pain doesn’t always accompany tension headaches.
You might also feel pain in your hands, jaw, or arm. These body parts connect to the neck via a network of muscles. Sometimes, colliding cars or bodies can cause additional strain in these areas too.
Finally, you could also develop pain in your lower back. Most people don’t associate whiplash with lower back aches. Yet, the lower back and neck share the same spine. If the impact jerks the entire spine in one direction, it can injure both the upper and lower back.
Many people don’t consider whiplash a serious injury. They think that because it sometimes resolves on its own, they don’t need a doctor’s assistance. This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons asserts that whiplash injuries can go hand in hand with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can have lethal consequences without prompt, proper treatment. Plus, they don’t always come with their own symptoms.
Some whiplash injuries can start with mild symptoms that worsen over the coming years. At first, you might have pain you can easily shake off, but the pain intensifies and greatly limits your range of motion in the following years.
Thus, our New Jersey doctors recommend seeking treatment immediately after you notice the effects of whiplash. You could avoid life-threatening injuries by doing so. Additionally, prompt treatment can lessen recovery time and quickly relieve symptoms.
We’ll prescribe whiplash treatments that fit your individual needs. Some cases are mild and only require muscle relaxants to ease the tension for a couple of weeks. Others feature constant, unceasing pain that may require physical therapy and at-home exercises to rebuild strength and diminish tension in the affected muscles.
We may recommend one of our surgical treatments for the most severe cases. Sometimes, your neck and back sustain permanent damage from an accident. Only surgery can offer permanent relief. We perform various therapeutic surgeries, including:
A few of our treatment options are minimally invasive, with a shorter recovery time and less pain while you heal.
Let’s work together to find a whiplash treatment that works for you. Explore Dr. Grigory Goldberg, M.D.’s options, like minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery for more comfort and less downtime.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.
Book an appointment by filling out our online form. You can also call the number of the practice nearest to you.
You should avoid overusing or straining your neck with whiplash. However, you should resume gentle exercises that encourage blood flow and movement within a few days following your whiplash injury.
You can heal from whiplash without a doctor’s assistance in some cases. However, we recommend that you visit a whiplash doctor anyway to confirm your prognosis in the coming days and weeks.
Untreated whiplash injuries can result in spinal misalignment, debilitating headaches, and pain in your shoulders, chest, and arms. Visiting a doctor as soon as possible can help prevent these outcomes.
Whiplash can appear on X-rays. However, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are more helpful in ruling out other conditions than diagnosing whiplash.