Two of every ten traffic accidents have consequences in the spine for the so-called whiplash
This type of injuries have symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, feeling dizzy and tingling in the hands.
In Spain there are approximately 150,000 injured per year due to traffic accidents, especially during holiday periods such as Holy Week, in which, for the current year, the DGT forecasts 3.9 million long-distance trips. Although the injuries in traffic accidents can be multiple and very varied, 20% of them usually have consequences in the spine due to the so-called whiplash, followed by the back and lumbar injuries, as stated by the specialists of the Units of Traffic of Quirónsalud Hospitals.
The whiplash is caused by the mechanism of sudden hypertension of the neck, followed by a sudden flexion, or the opposite. "The so violent tension mechanism to which the head and neck are subjected after the impact generates a maximum tension and even injures the muscles and ligaments of the neck, which are unable to resist that sudden stretching force, which causes the so-called cervical sprain ", explains Dr. Carlos Puell, specialist of the Rehabilitation Service and specialist of the Traffic Unit of the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja.
Regarding the symptoms of this type of injuries, Dr. Mayte Resta, head of the Emergency Department and specialist of the Traffic Unit of the Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia, highlights dorsi-cervical pain, occipitofrontal headaches (like a crown that tightens), the limitation to cervical mobility both in rotation and the sensation of not being able to support the weight of the head, the feeling of dizziness and the tingling in the hands. In addition, adds that "the fact of suffering a traffic accident is a psychological impact that can produce another series of symptoms associated with stress situations such as anxiety or refusal to climb or drive a vehicle again"
Traffic accidents, due to the forces of acceleration and deceleration, can produce acute injuries or complicate pre-existing injuries. The evaluation and establishment of an early treatment is essential to minimize physical sequelae. As advised by Dr. Diego Gómez, specialist of the Traffic Unit and medical rehabilitation of Quirónsalud Murcia, "from the medical point of view it is essential that every patient involved in a traffic accident go to an urgent medical assessment, whatever the seriousness to present their injuries. "
The recovery period for this type of injuries can range from two months to a much longer and difficult time to determine. Its treatment is based on the combination of analgesics and anti-inflammatories with rehabilitation therapy, such as ultrasound, currents, neck exercises and postural hygiene rules. "But despite the treatments have been adequate, sometimes, and for multiple reasons, cervical sprains are not cured and can leave varied sequelae, such as cervical pain, dizziness and headaches. Any injury, however slight, if not treated properly and by the team of professionals indicated, runs the risk of becoming over time a definitive sequel, "says Dr. Puell.
Tips for safe driving
The specialists of the Quirónsalud Traffic Units advise to pay attention to the following recommendations before embarking on any journey to ensure safe driving:
- Rest: do not start the trip if you have not rested properly. Also, it is recommended to take a break every hour and a half to stretch. Stop the first symptom of fatigue.
- Choose light meals and do not consume any type of alcoholic beverage, including low alcohol.
- Use a correct position at the wheel: the legs should be slightly flexed and the backrest adjusted so that the wrists reach the top of the steering wheel.
- Wear comfortable and loose clothing as well as appropriate footwear.