Most people know that whiplash is an injury affecting the neck, so it’s obvious that neck pain is a common symptom of whiplash. But did you know that the majority of whiplash sufferers also experience chronic headaches? Whiplash can damage the tissues and joints of the neck, and this often leads to a variety of symptoms, including headaches that are indistinguishable from headaches caused by other factors (such as food, stress, or lack of sleep).
The good news is that there are things you can do to find relief from whiplash symptoms and headaches, and the topic today will be all about whiplash injuries, and headaches in particular.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash happens when the head and neck are suddenly jerked back and forth. The most common cause is an automobile accident, and being rear-ended specifically, because this throws your head forward and then backward very quickly. This results in tearing and damage to the soft tissues of the neck, including the muscles, ligaments, discs, and nerves. The symptoms of whiplash include:
– Localized and radiating pain
– Neck spasms
– Stiffness and reduced range of motion
– Increased pain with motion
How Whiplash Causes Headaches
Over 65 percent of people who suffer from whiplash also experience whiplash headaches, which can occur at the back of the head, behind the eyes, or spread out over the entire head, including the neck and jaw. Whiplash headaches are a type of headache known as cervicogenic, meaning they’re caused by a problem with the neck. Specifically, the whiplash motion injures the cervical facet joints, which leads to irritated and inflamed nerves in the brain stem, causing a headache.
Best Whiplash Treatment in San Francisco
Along with seeking basic medical care for your injuries after your accident, there are other things you can do to aid your recovery from whiplash. First of all, try your best to stay positive after the accident, because attitude has been shown to be hugely important in recovery.
Moreover, create a good routine that includes regular performance of all stretches and exercises provided by your healthcare practitioner, and get back to work and regular activities as soon as possible. Even if you have to take on modified duties and perform modified exercises, staying active during recovery is better than being sedentary and immobilizing your neck.
In regards to whiplash headaches specifically, most patients find that a combination of anti-inflammatories, exercise, and applying heat to the back of the neck will bring relief. Avoid application of ice or cold packs to the area, as these can exacerbate the pain.
Whiplash is a painful injury that can take upwards of a year to recover from, and the pain and headaches can be difficult to manage. However, practicing stress-relief techniques, staying positive and social, and keeping active (even if you’re still experiencing pain) will all help to speed up the recovery process.
If you’ve been suffering from headaches due to a whiplash injury, it’s time to take a proactive stance on your own recovery. Give us call today at Scott Swanson Chiropractic, and we will help speed your recovery and get rid of those debilitating headaches for good.
Headaches & Migraines, Whiplash
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