HomeHealth & FitnessWhiplash – What is it, and how can you treat it?

Whiplash – What is it, and how can you treat it?


A stiff neck, limited range of motion and intense headaches – none of these things sound particularly comfortable, but for sufferers of whiplash they constitute the daily menu of symptoms. Once upon a time, before automobiles, the affliction was called “railway spine”, referring to the trauma ensuing from a train collision, but these days whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents.

In reality, whiplash can be caused by a number of different things, from contact sports like football or rugby, to bungee jumping. This article will shine a light on whiplash, figuring out what causes it, what is actually happening to the neck when it suffers whiplash, and how visiting a chiropractor can change your life following an accident.

What Causes Whiplash?

As mentioned, one of the most common causes of whiplash is a car accident, when a car rear-ends another car, though the affliction is by no means limited to automobiles. Another common cause of whiplash is actually roller coasters – that jerking, jolting motion, if your neck is not properly secured, can cause serious trauma. Sports obviously carry the danger of whiplash, as do other forms of travel, like air travel and train travel. Leisure activities like horseback riding or bouncing on a trampoline can also put you at risk for whiplash. The underlying cause throughout all of these though is an acceleration-deceleration force upon the neck, causing sudden strain.

How Does Whiplash Affect Your Neck?

That hyperflexion and hyperextension can cause serious pain as it strains what is called the anterior longitudinal ligament. The severity varies according to the impact of the acceleration and deceleration, and the symptoms can vary among sufferers as well, but commonly whiplash causes neck pain and stiffness. It may also cause dizziness, headaches, and stiff shoulders and back.

How Can You Treat Whiplash?

If you think you might have suffered from whiplash, there are some immediate steps you can take to alleviate pain, such as applying ice to the afflicted area and taking painkillers (provided, of course, that you are able to). Next, you want to book an appointment right away with a chiropractor, who will evaluate your spine as a whole and work with you to develop a treatment plan. They might perform some structural corrections, as well as offer you tips on how to mitigate pain, and easy, non-traumatic stretches you can do to set yourself on the road to recovery.

One thing is absolutely certain when you get whiplash: under no circumstances should you go it alone. The ongoing pain, as well as the accompanying effect on your posture, will only have further negative effects, so it is best to look for a chiropractor in Toronto to help you through the recovery process.

There it is in a nutshell. Remember that whiplash can be caused by a number of different things – not just automotive accidents – and that if you think you might have suffered from whiplash, it’s best to contact a chiropractor immediately.


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