Whiplash is a prevalent injury, often arising from car accidents, slip and falls, or sports injuries. Characterized by the sudden jolt of the neck forwards and backwards, whiplash results in severe pain and disabling stiffness. At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our experienced physiatrists understand the nature and nuances of whiplash. Our team is well-prepared to provide you with skilled, compassionate care to alleviate your pain and restore your range of motion as quickly as possible. If you are suffering with a whiplash injury, contact us today for prompt, effective treatment.

Causes of Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash injuries result from a rapid, forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. The most common cause of this injury is rear-end automobile collisions. Even a sudden stop without a collision can lead to this type of injury. However, whiplash can also occur from contact sports accidents, physical assaults, falls, and other types of trauma. 

Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash may not appear immediately after the injury; they can take hours, days, or even longer to manifest. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches at the base of the skull
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms

Some people may also experience ringing in the ears, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and irritability. The intensity of these symptoms can vary, but frequently they are severe enough to interfere with patients’ ability to work, drive, or engage in daily chores. They also often result in depression, anxiety, and reduced capacity to concentrate.

Whiplash Can Become a Chronic Problem

If not treated properly, whiplash can evolve into a chronic issue, leading to prolonged pain, discomfort, and reduced quality of life. Chronic whiplash is characterized by persistent pain and stiffness, often accompanied by a reduced range of motion. Because this prolonged condition can have a significant negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being, it is crucial to receive early and effective treatment to keep whiplash from becoming a long-term problem.

How Whiplash Is Diagnosed

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, diagnosing whiplash involves a comprehensive evaluation. Our physiatrists will take a medical history and perform a physical examination, testing your range of motion, assessing tenderness in your neck, shoulders, and back, and evaluating your reflexes and muscle strength.

We will also use imaging tests, as listed below, to reveal specific damage, such as hairline fractures or pinched nerves:

Our Treatments for Whiplash

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we offer a variety of treatments for whiplash, all designed to reduce pain, improve function, and accelerate healing. Aware that whiplash cases are not all identical, we personalize our treatment plans to address the unique needs of each patient. Therapies we may recommend include:

  • Spinal epidural injections, administered under fluoroscopic guidance, enable us to pinpoint the precise location of your pain and target it with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and an analgesic to reduce pain.
  • Acupuncture is a therapy used for thousands of years in many parts of the world to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and accelerate healing. The hair-thin needles painlessly inserted along charted meridians release endorphins that act as natural painkillers
  • PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) technology employs varying frequencies of electromagnetic waves to decrease pain and revitalize the body’s natural healing process. 
  • Physical therapy helps to strengthen core muscles, reduce pain, and restore mobility.
  • Traction involves the gentle pulling of a dislocated body part, using ropes, pulleys, or weights, to pull strained body part slowly into its correct position.
  • Massage to relax muscles and relieve pain.
  • Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to produce heat, enhance blood circulation, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain in the affected area.
  • Biofeedback helps patients gain control over their own response to pain; by learning to relax instead of tense, patients can reduce their own stress levels and minimize pain. 
  • Education and lifestyle changes will provide guidance on posture, ergonomics, and lifestyle adjustments to prevent further injury and promote a healthy recovery.

We are also acutely aware that successful healthcare is rooted in a trusting and collaborative relationship between doctor and patient. For this reason, we will discuss therapeutic options with you and take your concerns and preferences seriously as we design a treatment plan customized especially for you.

Contact Our Whiplash Specialists Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our goal is to help you recover from whiplash as fully and quickly as possible, using a holistic, patient-centered approach. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the injury, which is why our treatments encompass both physical and emotional aspects of recovery. For patients with whiplash, as with all of our patients, we focus on symptom relief and revitalization. Our goal, like yours, is to return you to a life of improved mobility and regained comfort. Contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment.