After a recent car accident, you have injuries to diagnose and treat. How do you know for sure whether to owe the ache in your neck to whiplash?
Mayo Clinic breaks down several methods medical care professionals use to diagnose whiplash. Understand which injuries to attribute to the auto collision and which may exist as everyday aches and pains.
Your medical care provider may perform a physical examination to determine if you have whiplash. During the exam, expect to move and carry out tasks using your neck, head and arms. The examination tests your limb strength and reflexes, range of motion in your shoulders and neck, and motions that either cause or increase your pain. Medical professionals also use physical exams to back, shoulder and neck tenderness.
While imaging tests cannot diagnose whiplash, they may rule out other conditions and causes that cause symptoms associated with the car accident injury. Standard X-rays pinpoint fractures, dislocations and arthritis using multi-angle images. CT scans, a special type of X-ray, reveal potential bone damage with cross-sectional images of your bones.
With radio waves and a magnetic field, MRI tests generate 3D images. If your physician suspects you sustained damaged ligaments or discs or an injury to your spinal cord, you may undergo an MRI test.
If tests indicate potential whiplash, you could have several treatment options. Examples include pain management, exercise, a foam collar and physical therapy.
You should not take potential whiplash and other car accident injuries lightly. What you think could be a backache from poor posture could be from your recent interaction with a distracted or otherwise negligent driver.