Car accidents are more common than we think and cervical damage or whiplash too. In fact, according to data from the DGT, a quarter of car accidents produce whiplash, especially in urban accidents. In addition, when a whiplash occurs approximately 25% of those affected suffer a moderate injury while in 50% of cases the injury is serious.
Cervicalgia for Cervical Whiplash Syndrome:
But really, what is the Whiplash Syndrome? The whiplash is actually a cervicalgia that produces a neck pain between the area of the upper neck near the occipital bone of the skull and the first dorsal vertebra. Cervicalgia is one of the diseases that the population suffers the most and that also generates many casualties, so it has a high cost for public and private health systems. In addition, all those who have suffered a cervicalgia may suffer relapses up to 5 years after the first diagnosis when they have not received adequate complete treatment. This disease can be caused by a multitude of causes, including cervical osteoarthritis, trauma of various types, vertebral fractures, myofascial trigger points, whiplash, etc … and in most cases by mechanical origin. In these cases we also say that it is an acute cervicalgia. It is also a disease that is usually in chronic condition in people over 40 years, when you have cervicalgia and low back pain at the same time, for lack of strength in the hands or for excessive cycling, for example.
“The diagnosis has to be made by a traumatologist or by a physiotherapist by means of a physical examination, resistance test or coordination of muscles or even by orthopedic tests”.
The most recommended treatment techniques for cervicalgia are:
- Cranial and cervical osteopathy.
- Myofascial techniques
- Stretches of the cervical area
- Postural reeducation.
- Pilates stretching techniques.
- Electrotherapy such as TENS or radiofrequency.
- Dry local heat application.
What is Whiplash Syndrome and What are the Symptoms?
The whiplash syndrome is the mechanism that has produced that the muscular and bone structures that form the neck have suffered an abrupt and sudden movement generating hyperflexion and hyperextension. That is, when the neck has been compressed on one side and stretched to the opposite side abruptly and subsequently returned to the initial position. Actually it is as if he had made the movement that produces a whip, so he receives that name. Normally these movements occur in traffic accidents by reach and in the side collisions although it is also usual to produce a whiplash in the practice of certain sports such as in falls practicing skiing or in falls practicing cycling. What is going to cause this injury is that both the vertebrae, the muscles and other structures such as blood vessels, etc. are damaged by the effort generated during the sudden movement of the neck. In addition we cannot forget that all the muscles of the back are linked to each other, so many times, most of the time, the damages after a traffic accident can be reflected in the trapezius, shoulders or lower back, even generating low back pain. In the case in which the person who suffers the accident is in a turned position, not in the direction of travel, the damage can be much greater and can even cause damage to the hip that can cause damage to the gluteus end up producing sciatica. Normally, whiplash is a lesion that in most cases presents a slow recovery and usually occurs as muscle pain of the upper back area (shoulder area) and skull base area in addition to different degrees of stiff neck, shoulder and upper limb mobility.
On other occasions the SLC is accompanied by headache, dizziness and dizziness, tingling in the arms, loss of strength in the hands and tingling. Although perhaps one of the worst problems of whiplash is the loss of an adequate mood that can generate anxiety, high levels of stress and can lead to depression. As for work leave, in most cases it can take between 2 and 3 months although in the most serious cases it can reach 6 months.
How to Prevent Whiplash?
The use of the active headrest has reduced the number of cases and injuries although the use of this system does not prevent cervical injuries 100%. For this reason and to avoid injuries caused by vehicle accidents, it is recommended:
- Properly place the seat in front of the steering wheel, or in the case of the passengers in front of the dashboard or rear seats.
- Properly place the headrest as it should be in line with the top of the head.
- Maintain an adequate safety distance with the vehicles we face.
- Maintain a speed according to the road conditions and weather conditions.
- If the accident is inevitable and if we have not been able to anticipate, put the musculature as rigid as possible.
- In the event of an accident, always go to the doctor for an evaluation, it hurts our neck or any part of the body or not. Normally the pains produced by the whiplash are not usually immediate but usually appear within 30 minutes of the accident.
What to Do After a Whiplash? (Recovery and Treatment)
I have also suffered a whiplash not too long ago and my experience after suffering a whiplash is that the priority is always the recovery since this injury can produce several pathologies that range from the pain of the upper part of the trunk and limbs, stiffness, dizziness, etc… For this, it is recommended to start the rehabilitation treatment as soon as possible but always prescribed by a traumatologist or physiotherapist.
- If it has been necessary to place a collar it should be removed as soon as possible, no more than 48 hours with the collar since the neck muscles lose their tone very quickly and can impair subsequent recovery.
- If the doctor prescribes the rehabilitation through stretching exercises, these should be basic and be carried out progressively two or 3 times a day.
- If the doctor prescribes massage treatment, go to the treatment with the marked guideline. The treatment you should receive should be a global treatment (on the entire back, from the cervical to the sacral area) not only in the cervical area.
- Start with the usual activities as soon as possible as long as the cervical area is not overloaded.
- Avoid bad postures maintained such as in front of the computer, reading a book or driving.
- Have a positive attitude. That will improve your recovery. If you enter a loop of negative thoughts your recovery will not be so easy.
- When you take a shower, put the jet of hot water (whatever you endure) in the area where you have more pain. The heat will relax the muscle and also the water jet will perform a massage.
- Turn on heat for approximately 15 minutes. For this you can use a sack of seeds that is heated in the microwave or a thermal blanket. Remember that you have to perform cycles of maximum 15 minutes of heat and 15 minutes without heat.
- If you can, use a cervical pillow. Remember that the fat side should be under your neck.
- Move everything your injuries allow. It is better to go for a little walk around the block of your house than to be watching TV.
- Walk, walk, and walk. Since when walking all the back muscles are stretched. Walking produces cellular oxygenation and you also avoid being at home in bad posture or lying on the couch.
- If the doctor has recommended you
- take muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories, use them only when you need them. My advice is that if you can stand, don’t take them…