Having chronic neck pain is a serious problem. Studies have found that between 15% and 25% of the general population suffer from chronic neck pain and of these percentages, about 40% attribute the cause of their pain to a whiplash-type injury due to a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash not only causes neck pain and shoulder pain, but it has also been found to contribute to dizziness, nausea, headaches, and visual impairment. The cause of whiplash is when the neck joints are stationary and then they violently and rapidly shift and then return to their regular position. When there is a car accident, it is typical for the joints on the top of the neck to shift backwards while the joints at the bottom of the neck shift forward. This causes the ligaments, which are what holds the joints in place, to become stretched. Because the joints now have increased motion after the injury, there is potential for severe pain to occur. To compensate for the now loose ligaments, the muscles in the neck become tense and rigid to compensate. If a patient is suffering from whiplash, they can have both pain the neck joints and ligaments as well as tense muscles.
How to Treat Whiplash
On a positive note, if a patient suffers from whiplash about 90% of patients are able to be healed from it in just a few months by undergoing physical therapy and using anti-inflammatories. The other 10%, however, are not able to be healed so easily because either the joint was damaged and is not able to heal on its own or the ligaments were stretched too far. In order to determine the main cause of the pain for these patients, a nerve block will be injected at the injury site to be able to determine whether the joint is causing the pain. If the pain goes away, the diagnosis is confirmed. Once the doctors are able to determine where the pain comes from, they can find a treatment plan to help the healing.
Treating Whiplash with PRP
Tissue repair is started by platelets because it releases growth factors. These growth factors then begin the healing process by attracting stem cells that repair us. Platelet Rich Plasma, also known as PRP, makes this process stronger by bringing a higher concentration of platelets. PRP is created by taking a small sample of the patient’s blood and placing it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets from the other components of the blood. The PRP is then placed back into the point of injury which allows for the body’s natural healing process to be significantly strengthened.
The PRP treatment is very short and usually only takes about an hour, with the patients ale to go home after. PRP is safe and requires very little recovery time; it usually takes less than one week to fully recover. To experience the full benefits, it is recommended to have three or four treatments for a whiplash injury. Once the tendons and joints are able to heal, the muscles’ tension will relax and the patient will feel significantly better. In the event that you need legal advice, do not hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer Dekalb County GA or locals, to assist you with your case.
Thank you to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C Attorney at Law for providing their insight on car accident injuries and authoring this piece.