Whiplash headache

 Whiplash headache

Whiplash is a non-medical term referred as  injuries to the neck caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck associated with extension.  People who experience whiplash develop a chronic headache also known as a cervicogenic headache. In some people this  symptom appear within the first couple of days after the accident and usually pass after a few days to a few weeks. There are a number of  other symptoms related to whiplash – neck pain,  dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue and memory problems . There are a number of people who might walk away feeling very fine even after suffering from a whiplash injury only to experience symptoms on the next day. The headache can start immediately after the incident or can even take some time to develop. There are a number of people who suffer from late whiplash symptoms,  means that the headache can last for months and at times even years.

What causes headache whiplash injuries

When the head is jerked back and forth, there is sudden strain on the neck’s muscles and ligaments.  This might happen during a car accident, repetitive stress to the neck , a sports injury, a punch or something falling on the head.  The shaking of a child is a common cause in children (child abuse). In most cases, the headache whiplash injury will be resolved in the weeks after the original trauma.  However, in a very large minority pain will continue for months.

 Symptoms of headache whiplash

After neck pain, headache  is the second commonest symptom that patients experience. After whiplash injury person feel the pain in the back of their head, or discomfort at their forehead or behind their eyes. The symptoms of this type of headache include pains that travel from the neck and up to the head. Headache after whiplash injury often shows itself for the first time on the morning after the accident. The pain sweeps up from the neck and over the back of the head. Most sufferers find that heat on the back of the neck will ease the headache. Cold makes it worse. Neck movements often aggravate the problem – particularly if the neck is moved towards extension, looking up to the ceiling is often very painful. Patients with whiplash related head pains often also get shoulder pain and touching the big trapezius muscles over the back of the neck and shoulders often provokes pain or spread of symptoms upwards. There are often tender spots or trigger points in these muscles. Women get pains in the head after whiplash injury more often than men. The other problems that can result from a head injury, caused by a whiplash incident, include problem in focusing. People might face problems in shifting their visions from one point to another. This is seen to occur more frequently in people who try to shift their vision more quickly from one point to another. There can also be a delayed tracking movement of the eye and also incidents of blurred vision in just one eye.The symptom can also lead to dizziness and disorientation, in most of the people who suffer from a whiplash injury.

 Treatment of whiplash injury

1)    neck collar is little bit useful but prolonged immobilization of the neck by means of collar leads other problems.

2) other treatment include

Massage; It is helpful in the areas where there is pain, especially in the neck

      Ice and heat therapy:  Using ice is  helpful  early on in the injury (to decrease inflammation), and heat is used more often later on.

     Stretching and physical therapy:   stretching exercises may be benificial.

     Medication:  Sometimes the pain is short term and mild, and  don’t need much more than a few over the counter painkillers.  More severe pain may call for more powerful medication.  Sometimes  injections to numb the pain and avoid muscle spasms should be taken

       Rest:  Resting the injured areas can be important, perhaps bed rest early on.

      Alternative treatments:  some other  treatments  are also helpful. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) with exercise is beneficial. protect head from trauma by using sports equipments, seat belts etc

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/08/2012

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