Perhaps the most commonly known cause of whiplash is a rear end collision to a car but in fact any impact that leads to the head jerking forwards and back, can cause the condition. So, as well as well as car accidents, rides at a fairground such as a rollercoaster or even dodgem cars can cause similar injuries as can skiing accidents as well as other types of transport such as aircraft travel.
Grading whiplash injuries
The Quebec Task Force remains an effective guidance tool in determining the level of each individual whiplash injury.
Grade 0 – in the task force diagnosis is where there are no complaints of pain, stiffness or other physical signs of discomfort.
Grade 1 – is where there is some pain, stiffness or tenderness but there are no physical signs demonstrated by this particular patient.
Grade 2 – here a GP or other health professional can see a decreasing range of motion and point tenderness in the neck.
Grade 3 – is where the patient has a neck complaint as well as showing neurological signs.
Grade 4 – is a patient with a neck complaint as well as a fracture, dislocation or an injury to the spinal cord.
In many cases whiplash is not actually diagnosed, it is just presumed to be there. If the patient had been involved in a car accident and has some neck pain which is noticeable though not severe, a doctor will very quickly give a whiplash diagnosis. Often the patient may not actually go to the doctors. They may feel the pain is not so severe as to warrant a visit and may make do with painkillers unless the pain and discomfort continues for any length of time.
If a patient does go to the doctor expecting a firm diagnosis they may be left disappointed. Even if they went for an X-ray, nothing is likely to show up, so this is only used in more severe cases such as if the doctor suspects the patient has actually fractured his or her neck.
Being injured in a road accident can leave you hurt, leaving you off work an out of pocket in some cases. If this is the case then you need to speak to a claims company about compensation. Companies such as theclaimsconnection.co.uk will help you get some of your losses back from whiplash injuries.
As for the treatment that the GP may recommend, this will vary again depending on the extent of the injury.
Most cases will go by themselves in the course of a few days with perhaps the victim coping by taking painkillers when necessary. Some cases will see the whiplash taking longer to heal and here the person may feel more inclined to do something to try and aid recovery.
One rule is that, contrary to a widely held view in the past, it is helpful to try and keep the neck moving as soon after the accident occurs as is possible. Keeping it still increases stiffness and can make the pain more severe in the long run. So, though it may be painful at first, persist and keep the neck moving.
Soon after the accident the patient may find it useful to apply an ice pack to the affected area and general painkillers such as paracetamol may be also used to ease the pain somewhat.
Other things that can certainly assist in aiding recovery include trying to maintain a good posture and keeping the head well supported at night in bed, so look at using as firm a pillow as you have.
Other possible treatments include having physiotherapy and osteopathy to treat conditions caused by problems with the nerves, joints and muscles.