Whiplash and Back Pain

Whiplash can become a common back/neck pain problem for a person, right after an accident for some time afterwards. Whiplash can become a potentially debilitating injury for a person, even when there is not visible damage to show up on an X-Ray. Whiplash is commonly an injury that effects the cervical region of the spine, but the thoracic and lumbar regions can be effected as well. Whiplash describes both a group of symptoms and the type of accident that causes neck pain. The classic case for whiplash would be a rear impact car accident, where the force from behind suddenly thrusts your body forward while your head jerks back and suddenly forward. You may get out of the car ok, and walk away from the accident feeling lucky to have gotten away scott free. Lying in bed that night , though, you may not feel as lucky. Whiplash pain may become a chronic back pain or neck pain problem if you do not get the proper treatment. In this article, we will discuss the pathology of whiplash pain as well as some treatments for the injury.



Described medically, whiplash is a hyperextension or acceleration-deceleration injury. It's not limited to car accidents; it can happen while taking a hot from behind or if someone was to punch you in the face. The force of a whiplash injury typically causes the muscles of the neck to strain and ligaments to stretch or tear. Some common signs of whiplash include ringing in the ears, pain between the shoulder blades, fatigue, irritability, and stiffness and discomfort and pain in the neck. Whiplash symptoms include pain aggravated by movement,; worsening pain in the days following the accident as the tissues swell; shoulder pain; muscle spasms in the neck or upper shoulders; stiffness and decreased range of motion; headache; tingling or weakness in the arms; and sometimes irritability, fatigue, sleep difficulties, or poor concentration. Though the symptoms and nerve pain/muscle pain associated with this accident can obviously be pretty severe, they will usually go away on their own as long as there has been no severe trauma to the vertebrae or spinal chord. In fact, the damage should heal on its own within a few months. Unfortunately, some people experience lingering pain and other symptoms, which they should check out with their doctor (or chiropractor) in case there are additional injuries to the facet joints and disks.

Obviously, the best way to avoid the pain caused by whiplash is to avoid the injury that causes it. The way you sit in your car may help you to minimize the chance of neck injury following a car accident. If looking to buy a car, you should try to get one with seat that has a high head rest. To work properly, your headrest should be high enough and close enough to catch your head in a rear end collision. Position the seat so you can sit up straight with your head no more than two to four inches in front of the headrest.

Other treatments for whiplash include OTC meds (Advil, Tylenol), range of motion exercises, and cervical collars.