Whiplash & TMJ?

You may have heard of the term whiplash in the past, but what is it? Well, read on to find out what this condition is, and what it means.

Whiplash is a neck injury in which the neck is essentially forced to move past the normal motion range.  Usually, these happen during car accidents, especially when one is rear-ended since the passenger’s head is usually pulled backward and the body is moved forward. This creates a recoil motion where the head will go back forward, and usually, this backward and forward motion will hurt the neck muscles, especially the soft tissues, that support your jaw, head, and neck. Usually, this medical term is called an extension-flexion injury.

Why this happens is simple.  The head weighs up to 15 pounds, which is about the weight of a bowling ball. When you snap it backward, this puts about 500-600 psi on the neck, and it strains the structure, along with the supporting tissues there.  Women are more vulnerable to these types of injuries than men are, simply because of the smaller head to neck ratio.

Because these tissues don’t show up in x-rays, it doesn’t really tell you what structures are damaged, but whiplash usually happens if you get neck pain, stiffness, less motion, head and face numbness, headaches, blurry vision, and eye pain, balance issues, issues with swallowing, jaw pain, ringing in ears, and difficulty chewing.  These can last for hours, months, or even days after, and they can be painful and persistent commonly.

It does involve TMJ as well since the head is supported by small bones, called the cervical spine.  In between these, there are discs, which are the shock absorbers. To keep the head balanced on the spine, these muscles are all involved, and when the neck is forced to move past the normal motion range, these do stretch and tear.  The muscles may be affected, and it can cause them to spasm.  TMJ can form, and usually, this is a painful, and annoying issue that happens with the muscle.

Treatment for this usually involves being overlooked at first, but if it’s not taken care of immediately, it can become a severe medical problem that can be denied by companies.  If you notice whiplash immediately, handle it, and usually, if you do it within 90 days, it’ll be covered.

Orthopedic treatment, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and evaluation by a dentist to get trigger point injections, a night guard, medication, and specific exercises are all part of treating whiplash

If you have specified whiplash, you should treat it early on, but the thing is, you may have experienced trauma, and it might not manifest itself immediately. If you do, however, notice that you’re having issues or are showcasing any of the symptoms that were listed, it’s in your best interest to consult dentist about this, get the proper diagnosis, and from there, determine the correct treatment plan so that the pain will go away quickly.