Whiplash injury happens when the neck or head moves suddenly and unexpectedly in a back and forth fashion. This movement may cause damage to the neck and even the brain. It is of vital importance to get prompt treatment for whiplash injuries. 1
The different types of Whiplash injury
Whiplash injuries are classified by the degree of the injury and three types are distinguishable: 1
Mild cases are classified as type 1 and the symptoms are usually delayed by hours and even up to the next day. The person may only have neck pain with no loss of motion of the neck, minor symptoms and no localized soreness and they recover fully within days to weeks.
Moderate cases are classified as type 2 and they start with instantaneous pain, spasms of the neck, loss of motion of the neck and radiating pain that may be moderate to severe. There is however no evidence of pinched nerves. The recovery from a type 2 whiplash injury takes weeks to months and complete recovery is not always achieved.
Severe cases are classified as type 3 and these injuries are comparable to type 2 injuries, however, they may be a lot worse. With this type of whiplash injury, there is clear evidence of a pinched nerve and the recovery takes weeks to months and may also only be partial.
What are the symptoms of brain injury?
Whiplash injuries can be more complicated than many people think seeing as your brain could become injured during such an injury. Here are the symptoms of brain injury: 2
- Persistent, low-grade headaches
- Trouble remembering things
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty organizing everyday tasks
- Struggling to make decisions
- Slow thinking and speaking
- Get confused easily
- Pain in the neck
- Low energy
- Sleep pattern changes
How long does the recovery take after a Whiplash injury?
When it comes to the recovery after a Whiplash injury, attitude is one of the most important factors.
Our bodies ache in reaction to stress and trauma an even with these aches and pains, some people will be able to continue as normal. The aches and pains that are related to Whiplash injury may take weeks to months to go away.
Some people, however, may need some time away from work, but they can usually return to their daily activities and work within a few weeks, even if they are not fully recovered. Then there are people, a small percentage, who struggle to return to their daily activities within a year.
It is important to remember that brain injury may have occurred and this is a different situation that needs much more time and attention. 1
Why is prompt treatment so important?
Whiplash injuries may become chronic which means that if you don’t get prompt treatment you may suffer from chronic Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD). This has been connected to motor and sensory hypersensitivity that may lead to chronic pain. In order to prevent the possible development of WAD, early management is necessary. 3
If you have had a recent whiplash injury or blow to the head, do not wait. Seek prompt whiplash treatment. Call Brain Hub on 1300 770 197 today!
- Allen M. Practical management of whiplash: A guide for patients. BCMJ, July-August 2002; vol. 44 (6); 317-321.
- Betty Clooney Center. Concussion and Mild TBI. Available from: http://www.bcftbi.org/about-tbi/concussion.asp
- Sterling M, Jull G, Vicenzino B, Kenardy J. Sensory hypersensitivity occurs soon after whiplash injury and is associated with poor recovery. Pain. 2003; 104: 509–517.