Pain in the Neck? The Top Signs You Have Whiplash from Your Car Accident

Pain in the Neck? The Top Signs You Have Whiplash from Your Car Accident

The impact of a car crash can cause your neck to violently swing back in a forth in a way that looks and feels entirely unnatural. When your neck moves forcefully enough, you may end up with whiplash, a genuine neck injury.

How can you tell the difference between a stiff neck and an injury? These are the most common signs and symptoms of whiplash.

1. Neck Pain

The first signs of whiplash appear within 24 hours of your accident or injury. One of the most common symptoms is neck pain (or neck stiffness). 

Neck pain is a vague term, but the pain is unlike a crick in your neck. Because it is an injury to the soft tissue, it will feel more like a sprain. You might recognize the feeling if you ever sprained a wrist or an ankle.

2. Loss of Range of Motion and Difficult Movement

A classic sign of whiplash is the loss of range of motion. If you turn your neck to the right, you get pain in the right side of the neck and vice versa.

If the soreness or pain intensifies when you look left to right or up or down, then you may have whiplash.

Is moving your head incredibly painful? See your doctor immediately for a check-up to ensure your injury doesn’t extend past whiplash.

3. Headaches

The damage to your neck may also cause headaches. These differ from migraines or sinus headaches and have a distinct neurological and physiological cause.

If you have a whiplash-induced headache, then the pain likely starts at the base of your skull (top of your spine). When you have whiplash, you have an injury to your cervical facet joints, which inflames and irritates the nerves in your spinal cord and your brain stem. The nerve damage is what causes the headache.

Applying heat to the back of your neck can ease the headache, but you still need an exam to identify the extent of any nerve damage.

4. Tingling in the Arms

Injuries to the muscles in your neck can cause the nerve roots in your spine to become inflamed or compressed. When your nerve roots are out of place, they can impact your shoulders and arms.

The most common signs of whiplash-related nerve issues include tingling in your arms. However, it can also escalate to numbness or weakness, ranging from your shoulder down into your fingers.

If you experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in your shoulders or arms, then see your doctor immediately. You’ll need a CT or MRI to assess any damage to your spinal cord or nerves.

Do You Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash is a very real injury, and it is distinguishable from a stiff or sore neck.

A stiff neck, loss of range of motion, headaches, and tingling are the most common signs and symptoms of whiplash.

Did you receive a whiplash diagnosis in the ER and get told to go home and rest? Around 40 percent of people who experience whiplash will struggle with persistent pain even after diagnosis and rest. Get in touch for a consultation to learn how we can help you recover more fully.


5 Exercises to Improve Shoulder Mobility

5 Exercises to Improve Shoulder Mobility

There’s nothing more demotivating than pain associated with using your arms.
Whether it’s an auto accident, slip & fall, workplace injury, or simply moving the wrong way, accidents happen and the shoulder is a common site for injury and pain.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint at the base of your arm that contains bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. That’s to say, as, with any other complex joint, a lot can go wrong.
After an injury heals, your shoulder(s) are often left stiff and with a shortened range of motion. Not only is this a nuisance in everyday activities, but it can also make your shoulder joint more prone to injuries in the future.
It’s important to maintain a full range of flexibility and mobility in the shoulder, no matter what injury you are recovering from. While regular physical therapy can be crucial in the event of a shoulder injury, there are some things you can do at home to improve shoulder mobility.
Here are three essential quick exercises to do to improve your shoulders in no time!

Cross-Arm Stretch

The cross-arm stretch is very straightforward and can be done in a normal standing or sitting position.
Pull your arm, outstretched, across your body while also pulling your shoulder blade back. This will focus the stretch into the rotator cuff. Do this 3 times on each side, holding each for 30 seconds at a time.
It is recommended that this stretch is part of your active warm-up phase for any workout routine to prevent injury and increase mobility.

Doorway Stretch

Got a doorway in your house? Great! Then you have everything you need to do this simple shoulder stretch.
Put both hands on either side of an open doorway, and slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch in your pectoral (chest) muscles.
This will elongate the tendons of the shoulder and stretch/strengthen the muscles that lead into the shoulder for better stability. Use this one for shoulder mobility, and to alleviate tightness after a set of chest flys, for example.

Clasped-Hands Extension

This one is great to do as a pre and post-workout stretch, as well as occasionally throughout the day. You can do this one on a bathroom break at work, or even sitting at your desk!
Doing this stretch every day will combat the slumped, rounded shoulder posture many of us slip into when working on a computer in a seated position.
To do this stretch, clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your elbows. Sit up with a tall posture as you pull your arms up and back. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you move into the stretch. Stay here for at least 15-30 seconds and take short breaks between reps.

Final Thoughts

As with any stretching and strengthening routine, it’s important to listen to your body.
If you’re feeling pain while doing these stretches, it’s best to stop and consult with a physical therapist who can work with you to find what’s best for your body.
Contact us today for a free consultation!