Whiplash occurs when your head and neck is knocked forward, then backward, in a swift motion. It can cause everything from headaches to confusion and mood disturbances. A common cause of whiplash is by playing sports, particularly contact sports like football. Here are some things you should know about sports-related whiplash.
What happens during whiplash?
When you experience heavy impact during a contact sport that causes your head to jolt forward, then backward, it causes hyperextension of your body temporarily. This can cause the soft tissues inside your neck to extend further than they normally would. This includes temporary hyperextension of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. This is what causes the pain following whiplash and the subsequent side effects for hours or even days after the injury takes place.
How do you know you have sports-related whiplash?
There are a variety of signs and symptoms that tend to be common among people who experience this type of whiplash. The most common symptoms are experience stiffness, immobility, and pain in the neck region. They may be immediate or take up to a day or so to appear. You may also know an increase in the severity or frequency of headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness. It is also not uncommon to experience blurry vision, but if it lasts longer than a day or so, you should seek medical attention. Also see a doctor if the pain starts to worsen, you have memory loss, or you experience unconsciousness.
What are the treatment options for this type of whiplash?
If your doctor determines that you have sports-related whiplash, you may be asked to go through different types of treatments or therapies. Rest is often the first thing recommended by a doctor. For the pain and stiffness, you might be asked to take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever. The pain can also be relieved with cold therapy, physiotherapy, or chiropractic care. The chiropractor is not only there to help with the immediate pain, but to help improve your mobility and help with long-term pain that is sometimes associated with severe whiplash incidents. Some other treatments include different types of massages, stretching exercises, and wearing a neck collar for a short period of time.
Even if you feel better after having an incident while playing sports, you should still seek help from a doctor in your area.. They can examine you and monitor your potential injuries.