Treating whiplash pain following a car accident

 
An auto accident in NE Portland OR

Treating whiplash pain following a car accident

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

In busy, crowded and growing metropolises, such as Portland, Oregon, auto accidents are an unfortunate fact of life for many drivers. With more and more people moving to the Pacific Northwest every day, the number of vehicles on local roads will continue to increase. This means drivers — even the safest, most conscientious drivers — are more likely to be involved in a fender bender or worse from time to time.

Modern vehicles come with many standard safety features that eliminate much of the risk involved in everyday driving: airbags, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), traction control, etc.

But a collision between automobiles — even a relatively minor one — releases a tremendous amount of force.

So even though your life — and limbs — may be protected from permanent damage, those intense forces are still likely to cause some drivers and their passengers to experience whiplash.

While some people view whiplash as a minor part of a collision, the damage it causes can continue for many weeks if not treated properly. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to contact Portland Urgent Care/MobilMED as soon as possible after an accident.

What is whiplash?

People involved in a vehicle accident often experience neck or lower back pain within a day or two after the collision. These are symptoms of whiplash.

Whiplash is a general term for a number of more specific diagnoses, including but not limited to muscle strains, ligament injuries, nerve damage — even damage to the disks that lay between the vertebrae.

Whiplash typically occurs when the head and neck rebound quickly as a result of the impact of a collision during an accident; this is sometimes referred to as a hyperextension/hyperflexion injury. The forward and backward motion of the rebound often results in nerve, tendon, ligament and muscle damage, triggering pain, stiffness, numbness or headaches.

Other more serious consequences may include vertebral compression fractures or disc herniations (ruptured discs).

How is whiplash 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, Portland Urgent Care can make a specific diagnosis by means of a detailed examination and an X-ray. However, 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 Portland. When you’re in pain following a car accident, you want to find answers and solutions quickly. We have more than 25 years of expertise and resources to help you deal with your injury pain right away — and to find those answers and solutions.

Be sure to contact Portland Urgent Care/MobilMED if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other medical-related topic.

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