The Dangers of Untreated Whiplash

The Dangers of Untreated Whiplash

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Whiplash happens when the muscles or tendons in the neck are forcibly stretched, causing them to strain or tear.  A sudden force that jerks the neck in any direction can cause whiplash, and most often occurs as the result of a rear-end car accident, however, there are many other situations that could result in whiplash – from a sports accident and physical trauma to an extreme roller coaster ride. Left untreated, whiplash can cause a great deal of pain that may become worse over time. Here are some of the dangers of untreated whiplash.

Chronic pain

The effects of whiplash can last anywhere from a few days to weeks. However, without treatment, the effects can last for years, causing the pain to become chronic and something you will eventually have to learn to either live with, or manage. The sooner whiplash is treated, the fewer long-term symptoms you will have.

Damaged ligaments and neck discs

Severe or untreated whiplash that gradually worsens can mean there is damage to the ligaments or neck. It’s essential to get examined for whiplash so a doctor can determine if there is any serious damage, which would need to be treated immediately to prevent any long-term damage or pain.

Longer recovery

Untreated whiplash can make the recovery period longer and progressively more difficult. Recovery becomes even more difficult the older you get, if you have any pre-existing orthopedic conditions, or if you have had a previous case of whiplash. Seeking immediate treatment, even if symptoms seem to be minor, will lessen your recovery period.

Know the Symptoms

The symptoms of whiplash can be deceptive. Don’t be fooled. Whiplash symptoms do not always appear immediately but that doesn’t mean you are not injured. Initially, symptoms of whiplash include pain or difficulty moving the neck, a reduced range of motion, tightness in the neck and shoulders, and headaches.

Severe whiplash can the symptoms listed above, plus pain in the jaw, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and tingling in the arms, which could indicated nerve or spinal damage.

If these symptoms are familiar and you think you might have experienced whiplash, the best thing you can do is see a medical professional immediately. Watauga Orthopaedics is an orthopedic center that specializes in treating orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions, including whiplash. Call 423-282-9011 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.