Whiplash – a neck injury occurs due to rapid, forceful back-and-forth movements of the neck, just like the cracking of a whip. The common cause of Whiplash is rear-ended car accidents. But Whiplash may result from physical abuse, sports accidents, and any other type of traumas, such as a fall. Whiplash can also be called as neck strain or sprain, but these terms are also used for other types of neck injuries.
Most people with whiplash injuries get better within a few weeks by taking proper medical care, including exercise and pain medication. However, some individuals have chronic neck pain and other severe complications.
The prognosis for whiplash patients
The majority of patients with whiplash injuries recover within three months. However, it is also possible for whiplash-related disorders and symptoms to become chronic.
Risk factors that could demand a longer recovery time from Whiplash include:
- Severe pain at the time of injury. If a person complains of severe pain immediately after the injury, that’s a strong indication of more chronic complications.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. In this condition, the person continually thinks about or tries to forget the accident, avoids situations such as driving, visiting the accident site, becomes more easily anxious or startled, develops depression, and trouble sleeping.
- Older age. Aged people tend to have more pre-existing and degenerative conditions of the spine, making them more susceptible to whiplash injuries.
- Females. Women tend to have smaller structures, organs, and neck muscles, making them more vulnerable to whiplash injuries.
Signs of Progress have been made to predict who will take longer recovery times for Whiplash. In addition to several risk factors listed above, clinical tests can also help estimate the complexity of the injury. For example, according to some research, sensitivity to cold, or cold hyperalgesia can help estimate the fact that a patient will have long-term disability and pain from the whiplash injury. If there is more sensitivity to cold at the injured neck’s site after a whiplash injury, it indicates the chances of delayed recovery.
Most cases of whiplash injury usually get better without any severe damage, but sometimes the pain may be severe and prolonged. Whiplash injuries that last for several months or longer can sometimes lead to depression and anxiety. If the Whiplash occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident, compensating for the damage to your vehicle and dealing with other financial claims can often be time-consuming and stressful.
Prolonged or severe pain can make it challenging to carry out your daily activities and enjoy your leisure time. It may also affect your work. You should visit your physician if your neck pain is causing issues with everyday activities and work.
Try to remain calm and focus on your treatment objectives. However, if you feel stressed or depressed, your physician will be able to apply an appropriate treatment plan. He/she may refer you to a pain clinic or specialist for further assessment and proper treatment, or they may also recommend a counselling session.