What is the most common injury after an auto accident? There are obvious signs of trauma (fractures and lacerations) that generally receive immediate attention. And then there are “hidden” injuries that don’t manifest until much later. It’s this latter category where many serious injuries occur, and most frequently overlooked until it’s too late. Our staff here at Utah Accident Clinic has worked with many patients after an auto accident.
What is Whiplash?
The most common injury after an auto accident is whiplash – technically, myofascial sprain or strain. This includes a variety of neck injuries caused by an abrupt contortion of the neck. Impact that causes your head and neck to violently snap back and forth (or side to side) causes whiplash. Symptoms of myofascial injuries typically appear within 24 hours of the accident. However, there’s no hard and fast rule when whiplash is involved.
Myofascial or whiplash ailments cover a fairly wide array of injuries that may be as minor and temporary as slight muscle sprains or soft tissue damage, and as serious as ruptured discs, torn ligaments, and crushed vertebrae. Signs of whiplash are likewise all over the map. You may experience dull headaches, nagging soreness, severe aching, mild inflammation, or shooting pain when trying to access your normal range of motion. If it’s really bad, you probably won’t be able to move.
The more serious whiplash injuries will exhibit symptoms almost instantly, but the really insidious conditions could take up to 72 hours before a doctor can assess the full severity of the injury. In cases of acute trauma, MRI or other medical equipment will detect a myofascial injury. In other words, you’ll tell the doctor where and how it hurts. From there, they will diagnose and treat your condition.
Treatment of Myofascial Injuries
The treatment of whiplash will depend on the degree of injury involved. It could consist of simply putting an ice pack on your neck for a couple of hours every day, and taking some anti-inflammatory medication until the swelling subsides. For more serious injuries, you may need more professional medical treatment that could include pain relievers, massage, and physical therapy. In some cases, they may prescribe a neck brace to isolate the injury. Since the most common injury after an auto accident is whiplash, you should get checked out for it right after an accident.
Most importantly, no matter how bad of a wreck you may have experienced, it’s essential that you see a medical professional the minute you feel even the slightest twinge of pain. Our chiropractors at Utah Accident Clinic have treated many patients who have experienced these injuries, and we understand and know what it takes to get one who is injured back to their normal daily activities. Contact us today to get your free consultation!