How to Care for Whiplash After an Accident
Whiplash is a common injury that can occur after a car accident, especially if the accident was a rear-end collision.
Whiplash injury occurs when your head is suddenly and forcefully jerked forward or backward, causing your neck muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion.
Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Whiplash associated disorders can also lead to sleep problems, depression, and anxiety. It is recommended to consult a doctor to see if there are any more severe injuries involved like brain injury.
If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. Once your doctor has diagnosed you with whiplash, they will likely recommend a combination of treatments.
The good news is that most cases of whiplash pain can be treated at home with some simple self-care measures, or with physiotherapeutic and chiropractic techniques. Read on to learn more about whiplash treatments and soft tissue injuries.
One of the best things you can do for yourself after sustaining a whiplash injury is to rest. Your body needs time to heal, so take it easy for the first few days after the accident. Avoid activities that require you to bend or twist your neck, and try to sleep in a position that keeps your neck supported. A reclining chair or pillow propped up against the headboard of your bed can help you achieve this.
Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain. Wrap ice in a thin towel and apply it to your neck for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times per day to provide pain relief.
Once the acute pain and inflammation have subsided, you can switch to using heat therapy to help soothe any lingering muscle pain as a treatment for whiplash. Apply a heating pad set on low or take a warm bath or shower should help sooth the soft tissues.
Over-the-counter pain medication
If you’re experiencing moderate whiplash pain, over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve whiplash symptoms. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and never take more than the recommended dosage for pain relief.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan for a neck injury. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck, which can help speed up your recovery time and relieve pain.
If your pain is caused by a misalignment in your spine, chiropractic adjustments may be able to help relieve nerve pain. A chiropractor can gently realign your spinal cord, which can take the pressure off of your nerves and reduce pain.
Massage therapy can also be helpful in treating neck pain. A massage therapist can knead the muscles in your neck and shoulders, which can help to relax them and relieve your pain. This whiplash treatment should also help with your range of motion.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people believe that this can help to relieve symptoms by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are dealing with whiplash, following these simple self-care tips can help you find relief from severe pain and discomfort. However, if your pain persists or gets worse, be sure to see your doctor or seek professional medical care right away.