Commonly associated with car-related injuries, whiplash actually refers to any type of neck injury resulting from a sudden impact to the neck area. While whiplash is usually minor, research shows that improper treatments may result in long-term damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones supporting the neck and upper spine.
An “improper” treatment for whiplash refers to any treatment that makes the condition worse, typically leading to chronic and degenerative pain and discomfort. Spinal specialists and spine surgeons in Santa Monica say that simply not doing anything may also result in serious damage to structures within the neck from whiplash.
Ignoring signs of whiplash, including not-so-obvious symptoms like headaches starting at the base of the skull and pain in the shoulders and upper arms, or wearing a brace or collar for a long period of time, can cause long-term pain. In fact, some physicians warn against any type of bracing since keeping your neck still for too long can actually worsen or prolong whiplash symptoms.
Overdoing it on painkillers, especially with stronger painkillers like codeine, can mask early symptoms that should be treated sooner rather than later. Even OTC pain relievers can mask telltale symptoms such as tenderness in the shoulders or neck pain from whiplash that only shows up with certain movements.
Whiplash doesn’t always present obvious signs like severe pain and stiffness, sometimes resulting in a failure to diagnose whiplash, especially when symptoms don’t show up until later. In instances like this, targeted massage therapy or tissue stimulation may be beneficial non-surgical neck treatments.
If you feel that you are living with whiplash that has not responded to any treatments, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and request an in-person consultation with one of our board-certified neck specialists in Santa Monica. They can help determine the cause of your pain, give second opinions and offer treatment options. Call 310-828-7757 and take your first step toward a pain free lifestyle.