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Depending on the severity, car accidents can have a range of devastating effects. Even seemingly minor crashes can result in serious medical issues, including whiplash. The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on whiplash and how it can affect your health and wellness.

Whiplash frequently occurs due to rear-end accidents. When the head goes forward and backward rapidly, the neck sustains damage, and this damage causes a range of symptoms and effects. Along with pain and stiffness, a person will also experience loss of motion, numbness in the arms, headaches, dizziness, and increased tiredness. Pain may also become worse with movement, which can lead to downtime until the injury heals.

For some car accident victims, the effects of whiplash are only temporary. For others, effects can be long-lasting and may even cause more severe complications. This includes pain in the head and neck that is far more severe, as well as pain that radiates down the arms. Whiplash tends to be more severe in people who are older, as well as those who’ve experienced similar injuries in the past. An existing medical condition that causes pain in the back or neck can also exacerbate the issue.

In terms of treatment, there are a wide variety of therapies at your disposal. Minor whiplash is usually treated with over the counter pain medication, rest, and ice. When pain is more serious the patient may be prescribed stronger medication. For moderate to severe injuries, physical therapy can be helpful. A physical therapist will use devices to reduce pain while also recommending an exercise regimen to strengthen muscles. Some people also have success with alternative therapies, such as chiropractic treatments and massage.