How to Treat Whiplash from an Auto Accident
Whiplash is the most common injury in a car accident and affects over one million people in the U.S. each year. It occurs when your neck undergoes a rapid movement backward then forward. The sudden motion causes your neck's tendons and ligaments to stretch and tear, resulting in whiplash.
Read on to learn how to tell if you have whiplash and how to treat it.
What Does Whiplash Feel Like?
You may be wondering what to expect physically after a car accident. More often than not, you will feel shaken up but physically OK. It's not until after 24 hours that you may start to feel symptoms. Sometimes you won't have symptoms until several days after the accident.
Common whiplash symptoms include the following:
- neck pain and stiffness
- headaches at the base of the skull
- blurred vision
- constant fatigue
Less common symptoms include problems with concentration and memory, ringing in the ears, sleeplessness, as well as chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, or head.
If your symptoms spread to your arms or shoulders, if moving your head is painful or if you have numbness in your arms, it's best to see a doctor immediately.
How to Treat Whiplash at Home
Because whiplash is a neck strain, you should treat whiplash much like any other muscle strain. Take pain relief medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to reduce swelling and to manage pain.
Ice is often recommended for the first 24 hours. Apply a warm compress, heating pad or have a bath to loosen and soothe the muscles. This can be repeated as needed until symptoms disappear.
You can have a gentle massage on the neck. You may also use chamomile essential oil to reduce inflammation and irritation. Simply add chamomile essential oil to your carrier oil for added relief during a massage.
After a day of symptoms, you can begin to do some gentle exercises and stretches. Gentle yoga is also an option. However, you should not jump back into your usual exercise routine at this time. Like with any strain, you need time to heal before you resume your normal activities.
What to Do about Severe Whiplash?
If you suspect that you have more than a mild case of whiplash, but your doctor is unable to find anything wrong, a more specialized imaging may help you get relief from your pain. Digital Motion X-rays or DMX is similar to an x-ray, but instead of a static image, it records in real-time, full-motion images of your joints in motion.
Digital Motion X-rays can show abnormal joint motion and an injury that could never have been seen with a static x-ray. This allows doctors to customize a treatment plan to stabilize the joint.
Whiplash from Car Accidents
Recovery from a whiplash injury is varied and complex. Some individuals recover quickly and fully, while others experience ongoing pain and disability. The good news is that most people recover from whiplash from car accidents on their own. These treatments discussed above can help make the discomfort less and speed up healing.
Make sure that you are monitoring your symptoms vigilantly and seek help at the first sign of a serious problem.
If you have any pain as a result of a car accident, contact us today to schedule a DMX evaluation.
in Back Pain, Neck Pain, Neck Paincomments powered by Disqus