Car accidents are one of the most common causes of whiplash.
Whiplash includes injury to the neck caused by the sudden whipping movement of the neck and head in any given direction. This injury often results in trauma to the spine and its surrounding tissues.
Whiplash induced spinal trauma in the neck often results in headaches. If left untreated, whiplash related injuries can cause a variety of chronic pains such as persistent headaches and many other serious medical and painful complications. Whiplash related headaches come in a variety of durations and locations. Such pain can come and go, or it can be continuous. Headache pain can be on one side of the head or both. It can be at the base of the skull or it can be generalized where it would be difficult to determine exactly where the pain is emanating from. In most cases, the pain progresses from the neck graduating to the forehead and you can even feel the headache behind your eyes.
In a majority of car collision cases, injury to the tissues in and around neck is often the cause of chronic post whiplash headaches. This is because the joints, nerves, discs and ligaments in this portion of the spine are particularly vulnerable to damage. When the structure of the cervical spine is injured in a whiplash incident the body produces scar tissue to do the job of creating a splint in order to facilitate natural healing of the affected area. The trouble is, long after the collision, scar tissue continues to grow and eventually it envelopes the injured area in layers of dense fibrous connective tissue, ultimately limiting your range of motion. As the scar tissue ages, it becomes increasingly more dense and even more rigid. This thick, constricting tissue is a major contributor to chronic neck pains and headaches.
Many whiplash victims continue to experience chronic headaches months and even years after the initial event that caused the whiplash.
In fact, some studies show rather disturbing evidence that over half of all motor vehicle accident victims with resulting whiplash, experience some symptoms even 17 years after the accident! What’s more, because the pain is invisible and few headaches can be detected on even the most advanced brain scans, those headaches resulting from cervical spine injuries, like whiplash are extremely difficult to diagnose.
When the body manifests headaches or any chronic pain, it is always a symptom of a serious underlying problem, therefore pain relieving medications, such as narcotics, aspirin or ibuprofen in and of themselves do little else but mask pain temporarily. Medications do nothing whatsoever to address the root cause of the real issue, and should only be temporarily and sparingly used to provide a quality of life for the patient while procedures and treatments to detect and correct the root cause of the pain are sought after. In addition the side effects of the use of such medication on an ongoing basis can have serious side effects for both the short and long term health of the patient.