Although whiplash often brings to mind large neck braces worn in court after a car accident, the painful condition can be caused by any sudden force that moves the head in a forward and backward motion very quickly. Whiplash is actually a strain of the muscles that support the head and neck. It can be severe and debilitating, but with proper treatment, symptoms can be relieved more quickly and permanent damage can be avoided.
Seek Medical Attention
Following any car accident, serious fall, or sports accident, it’s important to seek out a medical evaluation early, to rule out any serious injuries. Fractures, concussion, and other injuries may not be readily apparent, especially if the victim is suffering from shock symptoms. A thorough evaluation can rule out underlying damage and ensure proper treatment.
For mild whiplash, you may wish to follow a routine of self-care at home. Begin by applying heat to the affected area for the first 24 hours, followed by icepacks to help reduce the inflammation. Take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories as directed and be sure to get plenty of rest. Remember that whiplash develops over time and even though you may not feel injured at first, the pain will develop over 24-48 hours.
Your physician may prescribe medications to help speed the healing process and deal with pain. Analgesics, as well as prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories may be given to help reduce the swelling and pain. In more severe cases, muscle relaxants and narcotics can help reduce spasms in the muscles and combat the pain.
Physical Therapy for Whiplash
Once the initial swelling has receded, physical therapy and stretching may be necessary to return full mobility to the neck and back area and to strengthen damaged muscles. Your physician can develop and prescribe a treatment plan which may include targeted exercises and stretches that you can do both at home and at physical therapy appointments.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate. Call AlphaCare for your evaluation and begin your treatment plan. The more quickly you address whiplash symptoms, the more quickly you can move past the injury and get on with your life. Call today.