Pain Clinic Treat Whiplash After A Car Accident
A common injury after a car accident is a back injury and/or neck injury. If your physician tells you have a cervical strain or cervical sprain, that’s the medical terms for whiplash. Other names for whiplash include myofascial pain syndrome, hyper extension type hyperflexion injury, and acceleration deceleration injury. Essentially, the meaning for all is the same – an over extension of the neck and spine.
What Happens in a Split Second
It is important for you to understand just what occurs in less than 30 seconds – that’s the time it takes to blink and it can leave you with injuries that can last for an entire lifetime. When your car is hit by another car, especially when you are rear ended, the lower part of your body nearest the seat is pushed forward at the speed at which you were hit. At the same time, your head is viciously thrown backwards into the headrest. Then your body is bounced forward until your seatbelt stops it. Like a slingshot your head snaps forward, which can be at speeds twice that of the car’s speed.
When there is a low speed rear end accident, your head can actually be moving at 30 times the force of gravity, which means your head’s thrown around with 240 pounds of force. In auto accidents that are high-speed impacts, there is even a far greater force.
Whiplash usually stretches and/or tears tendons, muscles, and ligaments that are only one-fourth of an inch in thickness – that’s the thickness of a piece of spaghetti. When you are in an accident, your body will usually twist around the shoulder belt to one side. If your head is turned to the side when you are hit, your injuries will be more serious. Experiments show if your head is turned at a 45-degree angle when the impact occurs the ligaments holding your neck bones will snap and yet this type of damage doesn’t show on x-rays.
In these accidents, its best if a dynamic x-ray is taken because with the neck in flexion it can show damage that may require surgery to be fixed. If there is no instability present, your doctor can send you to a pain clinic to help stop the residual pain from the car accident.
• Neck stretching and exercises – You may be given neck stretches and exercises that you can do at home to improve your pain through muscle function restoration, optimizing your posture to stop your muscles from becoming overloaded, increase neck muscle strength and improve neck muscle endurance.
• Traction – This is a system that uses pulleys and weights to keep it immobilized and gently stretch your neck. This can provide quick pain relief especially when the pain is because of irritation to the nerve root.
• Short-term immobilization – A soft collar can help relieve pain by taking the pressure of your neck structures. However, if used for too long it will do more harm than it will do good.
• Steroid injections – Corticosteroid medications are injected into the small facet joints near the nerve root or into the muscles in the neck.
• Massage Therapy – If the pain becomes chronic massage, therapy may be recommended.
• Acupuncture – Acupuncture can provide relief for acute and chronic neck pain.
There are a number of other treatments that may be used depending on the pain clinic. Always feel free to discuss your treatments and ask any questions you might have.