FAQ’s on Whiplash Treatment in Las Vegas

Whiplash is pain that occurs in the cervical (neck) region after a severe jerking injury. Whiplash occurs due to structures of the spine, as well as the soft tissues. People who are most likely to have whiplash are those who have suffered a motor vehicle accident (MVA).

How common is whiplash?

Each year, one million or more people develop a cervical strain (whiplash). This is usually the result of high-velocity injuries.

What is the cause of whiplash?

Whiplash occurs from ligaments and muscles of the neck. This occurs due to excessive flexion and extension of the neck, due to a serious accident. Whiplash occurs when the neck is moved in a whip-like fashion.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Many people experience symptoms after the accident, such as whiplash. After within 12-36 hours, muscle soreness, neck pain, muscle spasms, and inability of the neck to move occurs. The pain associated with cervical strain is can be so severe that it interferes with normal functioning.

How does the doctor diagnose whiplash?

The doctor will assess the nature of the injury or accident, take a detailed medical history, and conduct a physical examination. This involves routine testing, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

What is the treatment for whiplash?

The treatment of whiplash depends on the severity of the patient’s symptoms and the extent of the injuries. Symptoms include:

  • Cervical collar – Immediately following an accident, the doctor may recommend a soft collar support device, which is used to maintain spinal alignment. This allows the tissues to heal and prevents further injury.

 

  • Mediations – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ketoprofen and ibuprofen, are used for mild pain. To alleviate muscle spasms, muscle relaxants are prescribed, such as Baclofen and Robaxin. For severe pain, narcotic analgesics can be used short-term.

 

  • Botox – Botulinum toxin type A is a powerful muscle-paralyzing agent injected into the shoulders and neck. This temporarily paralyzes muscle tissues for up to three months.

 

  • Epidural steroid injection (ESI) – The doctor can inject the epidural space with a corticosteroid agent. This space lies between the spinal cord and the sac covering it. Based on clinical research reports, ESI is 80-90% effective for neck pain relief.

 

  • Trigger point injections (TPIs) – Painful muscle areas along the body are called trigger points. A long-acting anesthetic is injected into these points to deactivate the painful spasm. According to a recent clinical study, TPIs were found superior to no intervention for neck pain relief.

 

  • Medial branch block (MBB) – A long-acting anesthetic is injected into cervical facet joints, which lie along the posterior region of the spinal column. Using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance), the doctor will insert tiny needles into the joints. Based on a randomized controlled study, patients reported more than 50% pain relief following this procedure, with effects lasting for up to one year.

 

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) – If a block is effective, the doctor may choose to destroy a portion of the nerve root using radiofrequency energy. This prevents nerve signal transmission.

 

  • Electrical spinal neuromodulation – Done when the patient fails on other treatments, this involves the surgical insertion of a small device into or near the cervical spine. This unit emits mild electrical impulses that block pain signal transmission. In a clinical study, spinal neuromodulation was found to have an 80-90% success rate.

Resources

Lee JW, Park KW, Chung SK, Yeom JS et al. (2009). Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection for the management of cervical radiculopathy: a comparative study of particulate versus non-particulate steroids. Skeletal Radiology, 38(11):1077-82.

Manchikanti L, Damron K, Cash K, Manchukonda R, & Pampati V (2006). Therapeutic cervical medial branch blocks in managing chronic neck pain: a preliminary report of a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial: clinical trial NCT0033272. Pain Physician, 9(4), 333-346

Tough EA, White AR, Cummings TM, Richards SH, & Campbell JL (2009). Acupuncture and dry needling in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. European Journal of Pain, 13(1), 3-10

Vallejo R, Kramer J, & Benyamin R (2007). Neuromodulation of the cervical spinal cord in the treatment of chronic intractable neck and upper extremity pain: a case series and review of the literature. Pain Physician, 10(2), 305-311.