Whiplash happens when your head jerks backward and forward, usually quickly and forcefully. It’s usually associated with car accidents, especially rear-end collisions, but it can also occur in other situations where your head undergoes a sudden and intense movement.

What is a Whiplash Headache Called?

Cervicogenic headache is a result of whiplash. Unlike normal headaches, it is felt particularly in the back of the head, at the joint of your head and neck. Cervicogenic headaches are usually healed with time. Watch out for the severity of pain and worsening of the pattern. They can point out severe underlying health issues.

What Does a Whiplash Headache Feel Like?

A whiplash headache is felt in the back at your head and neck meeting point. The headache does not remain there but travels to the top of the head, temples, front, and down the neck.

Such headaches can be consistent or irregular. They can get intense when you engage in activities like reading or using a phone or computer. The headaches might not come alone but bring dizziness and a spinning sensation.

Assessment of a Whiplash Headache

To evaluate whether it’s a whiplash headache or not. Pay attention to the time. If the headache is due to a sprain, the headache will vanish after 6-8 weeks. If the pain lasts longer, further evaluation will be performed.

The advanced evaluation includes an MRI to find out if it is the case of a disc herniation. However, an MRI works as a last resort. Healthcare providers will mainly take the following initial steps:

  • Medical History
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Physical Examination
  • Imaging Studies
  • Neurological Examination

How Long Does Whiplash Headache Last?

The duration of whiplash headaches varies from person to person. It depends on the severity of the injury and how well it is managed. Whiplash headaches usually occur when a neck injury puts tension and strain on the nerves and muscles.

In certain situations, whiplash headaches can start under a few hours to a couple of days post-injury. This pain can increase with time. A general timeline for a whiplash headache to last is a few weeks to a few months. However, some people can feel the symptoms for a longer time.

Whiplash Headache Treatment

Usually, the treatment of whiplash headaches requires certain neck exercises and therapies. Sprains can heal themselves with time, but therapies can boost the healing process. Anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants are also beneficial. The whiplash headache treatment is divided into the following parts:

Non-invasive Treatments

The non-surgical whiplash headache treatments include spinal injections. Such as:

  • Cervical epidural steroid injection
  • Cervical facet injection
  • Cervical medial branch block

Minimally Invasive Treatments

The following treatments are a little invasive but tackle the root cause once and for all.

  • Cervical rhizotomy
  • Endoscopic facet debridement
  • Endoscopic anterior cervical discectomy

Final Verdict

Whiplash can cause headaches, and most individuals can recover in a few weeks and don’t require extensive treatments. If you are struggling with any kind of pain that is taking forever to subside. Visit Dr. Raza Jafri at Genesis Pain Clinic.

Our doctor possesses years of experience in interventional pain management. Call us at (913) 871-9888 to schedule an appointment.

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