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How to Tell if You Have Whiplash and What to Do About It

During the winter, Calgary's roads are no stranger to car accidents. Let's say you've been in an accident. Most of the time, people walk away feeling fine. But now, a few days later, your neck hurts. You're wondering if you have whiplash. Here's how to tell and what to do about it.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when your head is suddenly and violently thrown forward or backward. It can happen in a car accident, during a sports fall, or even from being punched. Whiplash is most common in car accidents where someone has been rear-ended.

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

The most common symptom of whiplash is neck pain. You may also have stiffness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, or arm pain. Whiplash can also cause problems with memory, concentration, or sleep and is often accompanied by concussion. If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to see a chiropractor right away so you can get started on treatment.

Treatment for Whiplash

Most cases of whiplash can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs. However, if your symptoms are severe or last more than a few days, you may need to see a chiropractor or other healthcare professional for help. There are a few things that may need to be corrected in order to get relief. This includes spinal alignment; tight, tense, or damaged muscles; concussion related symptoms like confusion, dizziness or difficulty sleeping or concentrating; and/or changes to movement patterns.

Seeking help from a chiropractor is a good idea, as a chiropractor can make recommendations and offer treatments to help bring relief and help to stabilize the injured areas. If left unchecked, whiplash can lead to long lasting symptoms. And the longer the symptoms go on, the more difficult it can become to correct.

If you've been in a car accident or any other type of accident where your head was suddenly thrown forward or backward, it's important to watch for signs and symptoms of whiplash. Most cases can find a fairly quick resolution. If you're unsure whether or not your symptoms are severe enough to warrant medical attention, it's always best to err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your chiropractor or doctor just to be safe.

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