Are you suffering from neck pain or stiffness? Have you recently incurred a sudden jerking or other sudden movement or injury to your head or neck? If this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from whiplash, also known as neck strain or neck sprain. There are many reasons for this uncomfortable discomfort, and it usually goes away on its own within a few weeks.
Additionally, you can assist with the healing by trying some gentle yet effective and guided stretching. However, there are some rare cases where whiplash symptoms hang around longer than usual. The Pain Center San Diego has put together some information to help you understand whiplash and what you need to look for if you think you may be affected.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash is a common neck injury that occurs suddenly and precipitously when your neck jerks either forward to backward or backward to forward. When your whiplash is the result of an auto accident or other type of injury, the muscle and soft tissue in your neck can incur damage that can cause minor or severe symptoms, depending on how badly and which tissues were injured.
Is Whiplash the Same As A Concussion?
No, whiplash is not the same as a concussion, although there are similarities in how both injuries happen — with an abrupt, vigorous jolt. Surprisingly, the two injuries significantly differ as whiplash is an injury to your neck that causes damage to your soft tissues like your ligaments and muscles. At the same time, a concussion is an injury involving the brain.
How Does Whiplash Feel?
Following a whiplash injury, you may experience a dull, achy pain in your neck. Or it may even be hard to move your head from side to side. Mainly, how you feel will depend significantly on your particular type of injury and which, if any, tissues are affected, along with how severe your injury is.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
When you have whiplash, symptoms can significantly differ from case to case. Some people suffer symptoms soon after, or you may not feel any symptoms for days. Whiplash symptoms, also referred to as whiplash-associated disorders (or WAD), may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Anxiety or memory loss
- Fatigue or excess tiredness
- Having a stiff neck that's tough to turn
- Neck pain, shoulder pain
- Back pain