Neck pain after a car accident is usually from whiplash, or a whiplash associated disorder. The definition of whiplash is pain after the head and neck are forced back, then forward, then back again, like a whip snapping. Whiplash occurs when the neck’s discs, ligaments, muscles, and/or nerve roots are damaged during injury, and it may also be referred to as a neck sprain or strain. Whiplash can cause headaches and low back pain as well. Many people first see chiropractors after feeling the effects of whiplash. Exercise and therapy is the best first treatment for whiplash, along with medications for pain. Severe whiplash may continue to be present after treatment. Severe whiplash will require more aggressive treatment.
Neck pain with or without arm pain, upper back pain or headaches can occur without whiplash. There are many causes of neck pain, usually stemming from injury, overuse, birth defect, or insufficient strength in the muscles, discs or facets in the area. Sometimes, something as simple as a neck pillow is all you need. The first treatment is exercises, many of which you can do at home after learning how from your doctor of physical therapist.
If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, Dr. Helm and our specialists can offer treatment to relieve your pain:
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand
- Inability to concentrate
- Blurred vision
- Ringing ears
- Sleep problems