DEADLY SECRET #1 – You are at risk for a lot more than chronic neck pain.
While chronic neck pain is the most common result of a whiplash injury, a study in Canada showed that you may be at risk for much more. Canadian researchers sent health surveys to residents and while they did find that persons who had been involved in a rear impact collision (the most likely collision to cause a whiplash injury) had a higher rate of chronic neck pain, they also showed a much higher prevalence of headaches, anxiety, stomach disturbances, and other issues. This is far from conclusive proof, but it certainly shows that people who have a whiplash injury like you (or your loved one) are likely to suffer from many other issues later on in life.
DEADLY SECRET #2 – They take time to heal, but they can get better.
While you may have had a sore neck after a long drive or from falling asleep on the couch that cleared up in a day or two, whiplash is completely different. The damage done to your neck and other parts of your body is much more serious. Depending on what specifically happened to you, there could be damage to the ligaments, tendons, discs or other parts of your body, not to mention the damage to your brain! Not following the full recommendations of a physician skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of these injuries is setting yourself up for long term problems.
DEADLY SECRET #3 – The longer you wait, the more likely the pain will become chronic.
This topic is not unique to injuries related to a car accidents, but with the proven rates of chronic neck pain attributed to them, it bears special mention. The longer you leave a serious injury untreated, the more damage that can be done to the ligaments, the more the muscles become deconditioned (weak) and the more your life becomes limited by injury. Adding insult to this injury, chronic pain has a way of “tricking” your brain so that even if you get the offending injury treated and recovered your brain comes to expect the pain and creates it even though there is nothing causing it!! (For example, when you wear a watch and take it off, notice how it still feels like you’re still wearing one? It’s the same idea but much more powerful.)
DEADLY SECRET #4 – Too often you care the least about what is most important, YOU!
After an accident, the concerns are how are you going to get your car fixed? How are you going to get little Johnny from school? Will I be able to reschedule the appointment I missed? I need to call my significant other and tell them what happen. And of course, don’t forget to post on Facebook. The one thing people consistently forget is to ask “Am I ok?”. Your heart is still racing from the impact, your ears may be ringing, up is down, right is left, cats and dogs living together! It’s a confusing time! Due to the nature of these injuries, you may not feel any pain until a day or two later, this question not only needs to be asked when you get out of the car but for the next few days. If the answer is no, you need to be evaluated by a physician skilled in treating these injuries.
DEADLY SECRET #5 – The x room may not be enough.
If you been in an accident of such severity that you were transported to the emergency room and cleared of life-threatening injuries, sadly it isn’t over yet. While United States emergency rooms are the best in the world for the initial management of traumatic injuries, it is not designed or intended to be used for long-term management and care! (Please don’t take any information in this booklet as saying you should skip a trip to the ER if it’s recommended!!) For the long-term care of the damage caused by a car accident, you need the services of a trained health care practitioner.