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Treating whiplash pain following a car accident


Treating whiplash pain following a car accident

Posted by Mark Hosko, MD in Medical Education 30 Apr 2013

Car accidents are unfortunate but frequent events in the lives of people in the East Portland area. Most of the injuries suffered in an automobile accident are relatively minor, but some are serious and life-changing. Interestingly, one injury that commonly occurs in an auto accident is whiplash. While some may view whiplash as a minor part of a collision, the damage it causes can continue for weeks, or months, if it is not treated properly.

What is whiplash?

If you were involved in a car accident and you have felt either neck pain or low back pain within a day or two after the collision, you have probably experienced whiplash. Whiplash is a general term for a number of more specific diagnoses, which include but are not limited to muscle strains, ligament injuries, nerve damage, and even damage to the disks that lay between the vertebrae. This injury typically occurs when the head and neck rebound quickly as a result of the impact during the accident – sometimes referred to as a hyperflexion-hyperextesion injury. The forward and backward motion of the rebound often results in nerve, tendon, ligament and muscle damage that triggers pain, stiffness, numbness, or headache. Other more serious consequences may include a vertebral compression fractures or disc herniations (ruptured discs).

How whiplash is diagnosed

While your accident pain may be consistent with the symptoms of whiplash, it is important that you are properly evaluated by a trained physician. Getting the right diagnosis of your condition is the most important step in your treatment regimen. Typically, we can make a specific diagnosis by means of a detailed examination and an X-ray, but in some cases, it may be necessary to perform a CT scan or an MRI.

At the Portland Urgent Care clinic, we work to provide comprehensive accident care for injured persons throughout Northeast Portland. When you are in pain following a car accident, you need to find answers and solutions quickly. We will use our 25+ years of expertise and resources to help you deal with your injury pain right away.

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