When people think of whiplash, they usually think of car accidents. However, any blow that results in your head jerking forward can cause it. The sudden movement causes you to tense up and results in tears, the muscles, and tendons in your neck and back.
If you are involved in an accident, you should seek medical attention. Although there is little that a doctor can do for whiplash, you will need to make sure that is nothing more serious. Whiplash pain can last weeks or even months. A great source of relief is chiropractic, just search for one in your local area, if you happen to be in Georgia, then get in touch with Dominguez Chiropractic.
After the adrenaline has started to wear off, your neck and back will start to hurt. The symptoms are hard to ignore:
- Pain in neck only or neck and back.
- Decreased range of motion and tightness.
- Headaches, usually at the base of the skull, radiating towards the forehead.
Because whiplash can last for a long time, you may need to find ways to ease the pain. You may feel tensed up, to begin with, and as your muscles relax, the pain often worsens.
- Ice: To reduce swelling and pain, put ice on your neck as soon as possible—WebMD advice 15 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days.
- Painkillers: Anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen as well as paracetamol will help to ease the pain.
- Heat: After 2-3 days of ice, once the swelling has gone down, you can then use heat.
- Move gently: Do not over-exert yourself but don’t stay too still either. You need to move the muscles again to help them to go back to normal. But take it slowly and do not cause yourself unnecessary pain.
There is little a doctor can do for whiplash. They may be reluctant to prescribe strong painkillers, to begin with as they need you to be aware of any severe pain, as this could be a sign of something more serious. While the muscles are tensed, it is hard for a doctor to make a clear analysis. You should always see a doctor after suspected whiplash and follow their advice.
A neck brace is sometimes used. However, when used for a long time, this can weaken the muscles. This is an older remedy, and newer studies suggest that it is better that you continue to lightly move to help the full motion of your muscles to return. Although, in some instances, a doctor may still suggest it.
Depending on the severity of the whiplash, it can last a few days, weeks, or longer. Some are chronic. Everyone heals differently.
In some cases, doctors may want you to start rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles and ensure a full recovery.
For any case of whiplash, once the initial pain has subsided, you should do gentle stretching exercises. You may need to confirm with your doctor that you are healed enough to do them.
Do not rush. Healing takes time. You should not do anything too vigorous until your full range of motion has returned without pain.