Whiplash Neck Injury Headache

whiplash neck injury headacheHeadaches after a neck injury are very common and of these a whiplash* neck injury headache is the most common.  The most common cause of a whiplash type injury is a car accident. What happens is when the force of the collision causes your head to be whipped forward and then backwards. Besides neck pain and headache, the other common symptoms associated with a whiplash injury include dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, upper back pain and even shoulder or arm pain. These other symptoms are also called Whiplash Associated Disorders or WAD.

The headache caused from a whiplash neck injury typically radiates from the  back up the side of the head to the forehead. It can be on one side or both sides of the head. Typically associated with the whiplash neck injury headache is a stiffness of the neck and loss of mobility. The intensity of the pain can be mild to even severe in some individuals.

The Cause Of Whiplash Neck Injury Headache

When your head is forcibly whipped back and forth, it places a shearing strain first in the small ligaments holding the spinal joints together, then on the larger muscles of the neck. This shearing force causes a stretching of the ligaments, allowing the spinal joints to lose their normal position and joint mobility. This process causes inflammation of the joints, ligaments, muscles and nerves in the area, resulting in muscle spasm and pain! Left untreated, whiplash neck injury headaches can be disabling and result in early spinal degeneration.

Treatment For Whiplash Neck Injury Headache

In the past, many doctors recommended a foam or cervical collar, thinking that immobilization would help. However, current research shows that this does not help and can potentially prolong the suffering.

Since the headache is coming from the neck, treatment of the injured joints is key. Some home care that may help includes:

1. Massage of the areas where you’re feeling pain, especially the neck.

2. Ice and heat:  Using ice is common early on in the injury (to decrease inflammation), and heat is used more often later on.

3. Stretching: current research shows that gentle range of motion stretching helps restore the normal mobility of the neck.

4. Medication: in many instances, over the counter pain relievers are something that people first reach for, they should be used with caution. There is ample research demonstrating the prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, slow the healing process of the injured muscles and ligaments.

While many may find some relief from the home therapies, most find that they need additional help. This is where chiropractic care can help. Studies have shown that chiropractic treatments are 75% to 95% effective for auto related injuries.

Our office has a great success rate in treating whiplash injury patients. Since graduating in 1984, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of experience and additional training diagnosing and treating auto accident victims. We focus on the source of your injury and not just treat the symptoms.

If you, or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, don’t delay, call us today at (314) 731-4383 or CLICK TO CALL NOW. If you live in Hazelwood, Florissant, North County or St Louis, you owe it to your self to check out our office.  Time is only a friend of your injury!