What are Late Whiplash Syndrome Symptoms?

Do you have any of these symptoms?

    • Neck pain

    • Jaw pain

    • Neck and back muscle stiffness

    • Chronic pain

    • And many more

When I mention to my clients that they may have neck pain due to a car accident, especially if they were hit from the back, even 10-15 years ago, they are usually surprised. 

According to this article, 14% to 42% of patients left with chronic symptoms following whiplash injury.

In this article, I will be discussing what whiplash is, what muscles are affected by whiplash, and what steps you can take to improve your recovery.

The Science Behind Whiplash, How It Happens

The neck is a complicated joint. It consists of several different bones, muscles, and ligaments. The most important ligaments are the anterior longitudinal ligament, the posterior longitudinal ligament, and the interspinous ligament. These three ligaments work together to keep the head in alignment with the spine.

Whiplash is a neck injury that can happen when someone’s head gets jerked forward and then backward. The injury can also occur when the head is hit from the side.

Whiplash is usually caused by a sudden movement of the neck, such as in an automobile accident. It may also be caused by a blow to the head or face. 

These are some of the symptoms followed by whiplash:

* Headache

* Dizziness

* Pain in the neck and shoulder area

* Ringing in the ears

* Muscle spasms

* Limited range of motion

* Chronic pain

* Sleeping disorders

* Many more

What Neck Muscles are Involved in a Whiplash?

The most common neck muscles involved in whiplash are the scalene muscles, the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM), the trapezius muscle, and the platysma. 

The scalene muscles are located on the sides of the neck and play a role in opening up the airway by moving your jaw forward. These muscles attach from the base of your skull to your clavicle. The SCM is located in front of and below your earlobes and is involved in turning and raising both shoulders, as well as rotating the head, and elevating the shoulders.

The trapezius muscles are located on both sides of your back, and also play a role in moving your scapula around. The platysma muscles are located under your jawline. They serve as an attachment point for many other muscles of the face and neck including those that move the eyes, nose, cheeks, and lips.

muscles effected by whiplash

Neck pain, if not treated, can lead to lower back pain.

How to Treat Whiplash Injury?

Neck pain is a common symptom of whiplash, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.

The first thing you should do is to take into account the severity of the injury and whether or not there was any spinal cord damage. You may need to get a medical evaluation. The doctor will examine your neck and may perform some tests, such as an MRI or X-ray. They may also prescribe you medication which will help with your pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend you see a physical therapist.

Please keep in mind that pain may not appear immediately after a car accident. 

Depending on the severity of the crash, it can take up to several days to fully experience the pain.

Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, and you can already move on your own, follow these whiplash injury treatment steps:

    1. Apply heat or cold therapy depending on what feels better for your neck
    2. Do some gentle stretches. Perhaps your physical therapist gave you some home exercises.
    3. You may try self-massaging your neck or use vibrating neck massager
    4. Rest, take it easy, and get adequate sleep
    5. Get emotional help. It may be helpful to talk to your friends, family, or a counselor about how you feel after a car accident.
    6. Try to get back to your daily routine.
    7. Eat a healthy diet, and make sure to stay hydrated.

How long does whiplash take to heal

It may take several weeks after a car accident to fully feel like yourself again.

If your pain persists for more than a week, find a medical massage therapist. They’ll be able to address the affected area, relax specific muscles, and speed up your recovery.

If you have any questions please put it in the comments.

In conclusion

The late whiplash syndrome treatments are the same as above. Considering my 26 plus years experience, I would highly recommend you start by seeing your medical massage practitioner first for an examination and evaluation of your injury and the range of late whiplash syndrome treatment options. I can’t tell you how many times a client has told me, “I wish I came in earlier. I could’ve felt better sooner.”

About the author 

Ani Papazyan BS, CN, LMT, LE

As a Pain Resolution Practitioner, I empower individuals to conquer body pain, reclaim their lives, and embrace personalized wellness based on their unique genetic makeup, offering tailored solutions, self-help techniques, and transformative strategies.

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