Car accidents even minor ones can cause musculoskeletal problems, especially in the neck and shoulder area. When whiplash symptoms do not present immediately, this is known as delayed whiplash. Depending on the severity, it can be dangerous. Delayed symptoms can show up anywhere from twenty-four hours to months after the accident. This is because the body is masking the symptoms as a reaction to a traumatic event. Symptoms like:
- Present within 24 hours, but this is not always the case.
With delayed whiplash, symptoms typically don’t appear until 24 hours after the accident. But there are cases of symptoms being delayed up to six months. Whether immediate or delayed, symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Normal head movement is impaired
- Blurred vision
- Concentration problems
- Sleep problems
- Chronic pain
Medical treatment should be sought out immediately if any of the below symptoms are experienced:
- Weakness in the arms
- The neck pain spreads to the shoulders and arms
- Unbearable pain
- Loss of vision
Causes of Delayed Whiplash
The most common cause of whiplash is automobile accidents. Even slow-speed tap can cause delayed whiplash symptoms if the head is snaps quickly, and it is not only being hit from behind automobile accidents that cause whiplash. Rear-end, front-end, and side collisions can cause whiplash and delayed whiplash symptoms. Any time the neck snaps in a quick fashion in any direction there is potential for a neck injury. Some less common causes include:
- Contact sports
- Amusement park rides
- Getting hit on the head
- Specific types of falls where the head quickly snaps around
- Cycling accidents
- Skating/skateboarding accidents
- Skiing/snowboarding accidents
Symptoms Can Get Worse With Time
Determining whether to seek medical attention if there is no pain or symptoms after the event can be difficult. However, symptoms can get worse over time and cause serious problems in the neck like:
- Small fractures
- Ruptured discs
- Pinched nerves
Whiplash can get worse with time when they are not treated. This is why seeking medical care after the event is extremely important. As a doctor, a chiropractor can diagnose if any serious issues are present and develop the best plan to deal with pain and symptoms. When left untreated chronic whiplash and neck pain can develop. Chronic whiplash is rare but does happen, even with injuries that are considered not severe. Medical professionals will use X-Rays, MRIs, or CT scans to examine the extent of the injury and to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
Wearing a neck brace immediately following a neck injury can be an option but there is evidence that some movement of the neck and head should be incorporated, as it is beneficial for the healing process. If the pain is unbearable wearing a brace could be implemented into a treatment plan.
Ice and Heat
- Ice and heat will help with stiffness and pain.
- Ice will help relieve pain and should be used in 15-minute intervals.
- Heat packs and ointments can help soothe the area, loosen up the muscles, and promote optimal healing.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Meds
Advil or Ibuprofen can be taken for pain and inflammation. These meds help the symptoms, but should not be the only pain reliever.
- Ginger tea can help those suffering from nausea and dizziness.
- It contains anti-inflammatory properties.
- Supplements include green tea, turmeric curcumin, fish oil, and sage.
CBD Oil and/or Ointment
CBD oil or ointments can help relieve pain and relax muscles.
Gentle stretches can help the healing process and keep the neck muscles loose.
Chiropractic can treat whiplash utilizing a number of different techniques. They will perform tests to diagnose the extent of the injuries and determine what type and the best treatment plan. The plan can include:
Inflammation reduction and Pain relief
Heat, ice, ultrasound, and laser therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Spinal adjustments will help relieve pain from pinched nerves, bulging discs, and strained muscles.
Massage is a common practice in whiplash cases. It helps to kickstart the healing process by:
- Promoting proper blood and nerve energy circulation
- Loosens the muscles
- Flushes out the toxins
Stretches and Tips
A chiropractor will train the patient on specific stretches/exercises, along with pain-relief tips to do at home. These can include:
- McKenzie exercises
- Nutritional advice
- Sleep tips
- Posture exercises
- Physical therapists can help by focusing on the muscles in the affected area.
- They will teach the individual stretches and exercises to stretch and strengthen the strained muscles.
- They can also utilize heat and ice therapy, ultrasound, and laser therapy.
Hot Yoga and Metabolic Rate
Both internal and external temperatures influence the body’s metabolic rate. The body’s chemical reactions happen more quickly if the temperature is higher. This is because the body works harder to restore normal temperature balance. Brief exposure to heat is not enough to increase metabolism. To raise BMR, longer exposure to heat is necessary. This is where hot yoga comes in. Hot yoga involves performing a sequence in a studio that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity rate of 40%. It is an intense workout that involves sweating. The high heat:
- Increases blood flow
- Warms the muscles for deep stretching
- Helps the lymphatic system release toxins
- Raises the body’s Basal Metabolic Rate
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The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
Balla, J I. “The late whiplash syndrome.” The Australian and New Zealand journal of surgery vol. 50,6 (1980): 610-4. doi:10.1111/j.1445-2197.1980.tb04207.x
Fitz-Ritson D. Phasic exercises for cervical rehabilitation after “whiplash” trauma. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 1995 Jan;18(1):21-24.
Seferiadis, Aris et al. “A review of treatment interventions in whiplash-associated disorders.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 13,5 (2004): 387-97. doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0709-1
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The information herein on "Delayed Whiplash Injury Symptoms" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
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