Is Accident Related Pain Destroying your Quality of Life?
Whiplash pain after an auto accident is a very common complaint. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it is estimated that at least 1,000,000 people suffer accident-related whiplash injury and pain every year. While neck pain following a whiplash is the most common complaint, a wide range of other whiplash-related symptoms can cause excruciating, long-term pain patterns.
Whiplash Is Painfully Dangerous
The cervical spine is where your spinal cord lives, and the spinal cord is the most delicate tissue in your entire body. Even minor damage to the vertebrae that surrounds, stabilizes and protects your fragile spinal cord can cause a myriad of extremely painful symptoms as well as permanent tissue damage.
Whiplash inflicts painful crush damage to the first seven spinal vertebrae running from the base of your brain to just past your shoulder blades. If left untreated, the damage that is the root cause of whiplash-related pain will escalate and result in a myriad of other health maladies, as well as the danger of permanent tissue damage.
How Does Whiplash Pain Manifest?
Neck pain occurs in a large majority of whiplash injuries (between 62%-100%), and is the hallmark symptom of whiplash. Approximately 70% of victims also report migraine-like headaches.
This headache and neck pain may be on one side or both, on again-off again or constant, in one spot or general. Both neck pain and headache are often the result of tensed, strained or torn muscles and ligaments attempting to stabilize your head and neck.
Shoulder pain is another frequent manifestation of whiplash injury. It can be described as pain radiating down the back of the neck into the shoulder blade area, and may also be the result of damaged muscles.
Muscle strain and tears are often described as a burning pain or a prickling, tingling sensation.
In at least 60% of rear-end collisions, the spinal facet joints which stabilize your spine and enable it to bend and twist at the same time are subjected to crush damage. Severe spinal facet joint damage can cause sharp pain with certain movements, and may radiate into the arms, hands and fingers.
Approximately 45% of rear-end collision victims also report suffering severe lower back pain. The pain associated with whiplash-related injuries can range from acute to chronic.
What Is the Difference Between Acute And Chronic Pain?
Acute pain can begin suddenly as a sharp stabbing pain. This type of pain comes and goes, and typically subsides within three to six months. Soft tissue injury, such as a whiplash, is a known cause of acute pain.
Chronic pain lasts much longer than six months, is persistent and, many times, excruciatingly severe. Chronic pain not only attacks its victims physically, it also wreaks emotional damage similar to Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder.
Degenerative disc disease and unresolved injuryspecifically, untreated whiplash injuryare known causes of chronic pain.
It is important to note that once the nervous system has been damaged by a whiplash-related injury, spinal nerves become highly susceptible to a much lower threshold of pain.