Whiplash is the injury to the neck caused by a severe jerk to the head – backward, forward, or both – typically in a motor vehicle rear end accident. When this occurs, there is a hyperextension and flexion of the neck and spine. The ligaments, discs, joints, nerve roots, and cervical muscles in the neck are injured in a whiplash accident. Symptoms of whiplash may not be felt for days – even weeks later.
Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
- Severe neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, and hands
- Ringing in the ears
- Lack of concentration
- Discomfort from inflamed muscles and ligaments
Step-by- Step Description of Whiplash
According to experienced whiplash treatment specialist Dr. Brian Kessler – Medical Director of Spine and Sports Medicine – a whiplash injury can be described as follows:
- The body is pushed forward and the head remains behind momentarily
- The head rocks up and back
- Muscles and ligaments around the spine are stretched and/or torn
- Muscles – in reflex – contract to bring the head forward
- Overcompensation occurs when the head travels forward and the pushing momentum decelerates
- The head is rocked forward violently, stretching and tearing more muscles and ligaments
Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash
Damage to the cervical discs or facet joints presents a serious condition and should be diagnosed immediately. The Spine and Sports Medicine Multidisciplinary Team have the education, training, and practical experience to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis for treating whiplash-related injuries.
An in-depth evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment will entail:
- Physical Examination
- Medical History
- Factual accounting of the cause surrounding the injury
- If necessary, X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or EMG to rule out other serious condition
- Physical Therapy
- Chiropractic Care
Herniated Cervical Disc
A herniated disc occurs when small cracks in the disc walls create weak spots within which the inner material can bulge through. This bulging disc impinges upon the closest nerve causing pain and problems with the nerve’s function.
Facet Joint Damage
Whiplash may cause inflammation or nerve impingement to the facet joints. These are synovial joints working together to provide movement and stability to the vertebrae of the spine. Articular cartilage and capsules containing synovial fluid comprise the synovial joints providing protection and mobility of the spine.
In order to compensate for the pain to injured discs or joints, the muscles of the neck will be over exerted. This over exertions causes strain to the muscles – resulting in acute pain to the neck.
Medical Insurance Coverage for Whiplash Diagnosis and Physical Therapy Treatment
At Spine and Sports Medicine, there is no requirement for you to obtain an outside primary physician referral to have the cost of your whiplash diagnosis and physical therapy treatment covered by your insurance plan. Most insurance plans cover the cost of diagnosing and treating whiplash injuries. Our insurance experts will help you to determine your coverage and assist in processing your claims.
Discover Multidisciplinary Therapeutic Whiplash Treatment in One Convenient Location
If you have experienced a whiplash injury – and have been delaying seeking treatment for your pain and discomfort – reach out to the Multidisciplinary Team of Physical Therapy Experts at Spine and Sports Medicine by clicking below or calling 212.986.3888. Remember – delaying treatment will only worsen your whiplash injury. Discover pain relief benefits provided by a multidisciplinary therapeutic practice in one convenient Midtown Manhattan location – at Madison Avenue and 40th Street.