The stress of a car accident alone is enough to cause a headache, but what about when headaches seem to be a sign that something is physically wrong? Whiplash can cause headaches and is actually the most common car accident injury. While your seat belt may keep your upper body in place during the crash, your head and neck are left vulnerable to being shaken up and jostled around. If you notice a headache after a car accident that doesn’t seem to go away or starts to get worse as the hours and days go on, visit an Atlanta whiplash chiropractor for help.
Headaches that continue for days after a car accident typically tend to be the reason someone seeks out medical attention. You might have a few scrapes and bruises after the accident but initially think you’re okay because nothing else seems to be damaged. However, car accident injuries can actually be sneaky and symptoms can slowly appear in the hours and even days after the accident. That’s because your body was likely flooded with adrenaline and you might have even been in shock, which can mask symptoms of more serious, less visible injuries.
Whiplash Symptoms After a Car Accident
A lasting headache that won’t go away may be your first sign that something isn’t quite right after a car accident. When it comes to whiplash symptoms, you can experience pain and discomfort in your head, neck, and even upper back and shoulders. Whiplash headaches typically occur at the base of your head, though they can also cause pain like a more typical migraine. When the force of the accident causes your head and neck to snap forward and backward violently, it can strain your neck muscles and damage your spine. Tender, sore neck muscles might start to feel stiff and you may even notice difficulty turning your head from side to side. Your upper back and shoulders may also be stiff and sore due to the stress from the accident.
Duration of Whiplash Symptoms
Whiplash symptoms can slowly appear over time, so it helps to keep track of what symptoms you start to notice and how long they last. You may experience headaches that come and go, or you may notice that your neck muscles are more stiff and painful when you sit or lay in certain positions. Understanding when each of your symptoms started and how long they last will help your whiplash chiropractor provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Severity of Whiplash Symptoms
It also helps to monitor the severity of your symptoms. You might not notice a headache after an accident until a few hours, but if the it slowly gets worse over time without any relief then a whiplash chiropractor can help. Symptoms may get worse over time or you might experience more pain with certain movements or activities, all of which is helpful for your whiplash chiropractor to know.
A whiplash chiropractor will want to know about the duration and severity of your whiplash symptoms after a car accident. A physical examination will also help your doctor determine a diagnosis of whiplash by assessing your head, neck, and spine. Diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans may also come in handy for ruling out any other injuries like a concussion or a fracture in your spine. While there isn’t a specific test that identifies whiplash, your whiplash chiropractor will be able to rule out other injuries and combine that with your reported symptoms and physical examination results.
Whiplash and Headache Treatment
A whiplash chiropractor uses natural, noninvasive treatment approaches to addressing your symptoms and the root cause of your whiplash pain. A treatment plan that is unique to your body and your symptoms will allow you to experience lasting healing and recovery. Your whiplash chiropractor will likely use a combination of chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic massage to address misalignments in your spine and gently support your aching muscles. There are also remedies you can try at home in between appointments, like alternating cold and hot compresses on your neck and back. Your chiropractor may also recommend stretches and exercises to help restore a healthy range of motion in your neck.
If you have a headache that just won’t go away after a car accident, visit AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta or one of our surrounding locations. Our team of whiplash chiropractors is here to help provide you with lasting relief from your car accident injuries!