WUH-PSSSH!!! The word whiplash comes from the way early Americans used to whip cattle, which would often cause the cattle to have whiplash. Just kidding; don’t believe everything you hear. It really comes from1 the Middle Low German word “wippe,” which means “quick movement” and the Middle English word “las” meaning “a blow or stroke.” The word was created for the lash of a whip because that’s what your head looks like when you experience whiplash. WUH-PSSSH!!! And that information came from a dictionary, so I hope we can believe it. Because if we can’t trust dictionaries, whiplash should be the last of our worries.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash2 is a neck injury that happens when the head is forcefully and rapidly moved backward and then forward or forward and then backward. It usually happens when a deer runs in front of your car and you slam on your brakes and the person behind you hits you and your head goes WUH-PSSSH like a whip. The most common causes of whiplash are rear end accidents or other car accidents, sports injuries, physical abuse, and other trauma.
How do I know if I have whiplash?
Most likely, you’ll know that you have whiplash because you were in a car accident or another kind of trauma and your head went WUH-PSSSH. But you might not feel pain from the crash right away. Sometimes the symptoms3 from whiplash take 24 hours to develop. Here’s what to look for after your accident:
- Decreased range of motion
- Pain and stiffness
- Tightness in the neck
- Pain when moving your head from side to side or back and forth
- Pain or stiffness when you look over either shoulder
- Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate toward the forehead
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Some people also have more serious symptoms:4
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Inability to sleep
- Irritability or difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
How can I make the pain go away?
In some cases, whiplash can also cause a concussion. If you’re worried you have a concussion or if your whiplash is unbearable, go see your doctor. Usually after any pain from a car accident or other accident, it is smart to go get checked out by your doctor. In most cases however, the pain from whiplash should go away in just a few days. In the meantime, try cold therapy. You can use Chirp’s Hot & Cold Wrap to numb the pain with cold therapy 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. After you use the wrap for cold therapy for a few days, use it for heat therapy. The complete process of cold therapy, and then heat therapy will help your neck heal faster. If your pain lasts longer than expected, see your doctor, and he might recommend painkillers or a neck brace.