What is Whiplash?
A relatively common injury, whiplash can occur with anything from contact sports to car accidents. In simple terms, whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head moves suddenly backward and then forward i.e. caused by sudden acceleration and deceleration.
Whiplash injuries do not generally resolve themselves in days to weeks, and severe instances can result in the need for longer-term treatment. If the impact is sufficiently strong, an individual may experience severe neck pain, headache and pain that spreads into the arms. Factors that impact severity can include previous incidents of whiplash and existing back or neck pain.
Whiplash is more likely to happen among women and young adults. People who have a history of neck pain or injuries from car accidents or sudden jerks are also more susceptible to it as well. Desk workers are also more prone to whiplash as they have a lot more monotonous work. Sitting in one position for so many hours can tighten the muscles, hence a small jerk is able to cause more damage than usual.
Once the neck has been damaged, you can experience severe pain, a decreased sense of motion, tightness and stiffness while moving the head in any direction. People also experience muscle spasms and headaches. If you start experiencing chronic headaches along with the pain, then you must seek attention from a whiplash pain doctor.
The pain normally goes away within a few days or sometimes a couple of months. However, people still experience neck pain even after a year. If you have severe pain from the beginning, or you start experiencing neurological symptoms such as memory loss or shooting pains in your arm, then it may not go away easily and you will need to visit a whiplash pain doctor.
The whiplash pain doctor will ask you questions about the pain and when you started experiencing it, how did it occur etc. Then they will conduct a physical examination and based on the results the doctor will perform further tests like MRI scans, CT scans and X-rays This will enable them to diagnose it.
When medications and physical therapy do not alleviate pain, Premier Pain Institute can help. Targeted nerve or facet joint injections can help relieve muscle spasms, which – in turn — reduces pain, and allows for relaxation and healing. Whiplash is not a fictitious injury in personal injury commercials. The pain is real and Premier Pain Institute is here to help.
- One of the best things to do is to take some rest for around one or two days. Decrease the amount of physical work, but at the same time, do not take too much bed rest as it can tighten the muscles and delay recovery.
- Heat compressors or ice packs can help. Heat will help reduce the tension in the muscles, and cold compresses can relax the muscles.
- You can take over-the-top medication to relieve the pain temporarily. People with severe pain will receive prescribed medication to relieve the nerve pain. Other medicines can help loosen tight muscles and soothe the pain, however, they can also make you feel sleepy.
- Exercising plays a vital role in recovery as it helps bring the muscles back to normal motion.
- Other methods that help relieve the pain are massaging, chiropractic care and electrotherapy.
- The first exercise involves the movement of the neck muscles. Keep your head and shoulders straight and try touching your ear from one shoulder to another. Keep repeating this from one side to another.
- The next exercise involves looking from left to right repeatedly without bending your neck. This helps decrease the tightness and increase mobility in the neck.
- The third exercise involves placing your palm on your forehead and push your forehead against your palm without bending your neck. Hold this position for around 3-5 seconds. Keep repeating this around 5-10 times a day depending on whatever you are capable of doing. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles and it should be done after you have the pain slightly reduced.
Sleeping with whiplash can be quite difficult but there are some things you can do to make it easier. Applying an ice pack before sleeping for some time will help relieve the pain. Using a special neck pillow instead of the normal bed pillows will provide some stability to the neck and give better support. You can consult a whiplash pain doctor for the appropriate neck pillow. Whiplash can seriously affect our daily activities and hence starting treatment at the earliest will help you recover as soon as possible.
When To See A Doctor?
If you’ve tried the above treatments and the pain still doesn’t go away, you will need to see a whiplash pain doctor. Other symptoms that are a cause for concern are intense pain, redness, swelling and fever.
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