The neck muscles are responsible for head support, mobility and nerve supply. Since the head is comprised of the brain and sensory organs, strong neck muscles are valuable to maintain head stability and protection. Unfortunately, strain or whiplash may occur if neck muscles are stretched beyond the normal capacity.
Causes of Whiplash Injury
According to Denver spine centers, whiplash neck injury occurs when sudden force causes abrupt forward and backward movement of the head. Due to rapid acceleration or deceleration, the neck muscles are displaced from normal position. This condition is often due to a vehicular accident wherein sudden movement causes hyperextension followed by rapid hyperflexion. Some sports such as martial arts, soccer and basketball may also predispose a person to neck strain due to forceful impact to the head.
Symptoms of Whiplash Injury
Patients with whiplash injury most commonly experience pain or stiffness in the neck. Common complaints include difficulty to move head and decreased range of motion. It may be accompanied by constant headache, dizziness and ear ringing. The pain may also radiate to the shoulder, jaw and arms depending on the affected nerves. People with a history of recent motor vehicle accident who present with these clinical manifestations are highly suspected to have neck strain.
Treatment of Whiplash Injury
The approach for whiplash injury treatment depends on the type and degree of neck strain. History, physical examination, laboratory test results and imaging modalities will be done initially to determine the exact pathology.
Most medical practitioners perform physical and occupational therapy after treatment of underlying structural abnormalities of the neck. Regular therapy sessions are crucial to hasten the healing process and restore normal function of the neck. A professional therapist manages and supervises individualized physical activities to ensure faster recovery of the affected muscle.
Whiplash injury is often misdiagnosed and mistreated especially if recent head trauma is not noted in the history. Therefore, it is essential to visit a skilled medical practitioner who can offer various therapeutic options for effective pain management.