Whiplash can overstretch and tear the muscles or tendons in your neck and can cause a lifelong struggle when not diagnosed and treated properly.
A neck strain and a neck sprain are different from one another and are worth knowing when taking a look at neck pain injuries.
- Neck Strains – Caused by damaged muscles, tendons which connect muscles to bones.
- Neck Sprains – Caused by tearing of the ligaments, which connect bones to bones.
Regardless if you have a neck sprain or strain, both will offer up very similar symptoms and patients with these injuries will undergo very similar treatments.
Variables that will change between these two types of neck injuries are the time it takes to heal and the range of motion and pain that you may feel from them.
Whiplash Injuries come with significant and noticeable pain.
If you have suffered a serious neck pain injury, you will likely experience the following:
- Decreased Range of Motion in the neck
- Tightness in the Neck
- Hard or knotty muscles
- Inability to move your head one way or the other
- Side to side or front to back motions are restricted
- Tender to touch areas in the neck
- Headaches that start at the base of the skull and move throughout towards the forehead
You may or may not notice pain from a neck injury in direct relationship to the time that that injury was incurred. Some neck pains may not show up until hours and sometimes days later.
It is very important, if you have suffered from a whiplash incident, that you monitor your symptoms afterwards to avoid further injury.
There are times where concussions can be caused at the same time as a whiplash injury and all such incidents should be handled and monitored carefully.
If you suspect that you have suffered a concussion, a doctor’s visit is in order. If your symptoms cause confusion, dizziness, non-reactive pupils, nausea, sleepiness or blackouts, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Neck and Head injuries can cause lifelong pain, paralysis and even death if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
The doctor will examine you physically, via an X-Ray, MRI, CT and more in order to pinpoint the exact reasons for the pain in relationship to your injuries.
Wexford Chiropractor - Whiplash Treatment
When you visit our Wexford Chiropractor and undergo an initial consultation, the staff and doctor will help you recover by prescribing a variety of natural methods to increase your body’s ability to rebuild and repair.
Some of the whiplash treatment that you may undergo include:
- Ice Packs – Ice reduces inflammation and swelling. It should be applied shortly after the neck injury, for 20 to 30 minutes in 3 to 4 hour intervals. This process should be conducted 2 to 3 days after your injury. To ensure injury to the skin, make sure that you have a barrier between the ice and your skin, such as a towel or thin cloth.
- Anti- Inflammatory Drugs - Using NSAID painkillers, such as Advil or Motrin, can help reduce swelling and the pain associated with it. Prior to taking these over the counter pain medications, review the dosage and timing with your doctor. If the NSAIDS do not provide any relief or you find yourself in still suffering from acute or increasing pain, notify your doctor. In cases where pain does not subside from NSAID medication, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants or prescription painkillers such as oxycodone or vicodine.
- Stabilize the Injury - In order to ensure that no further injury occurs, neck injuries may require a neck brace or neck collar. These medical devices help to stabilize the neck muscles and bones by restricting their movements while the tissues heal. Long term use is generally not advised as it can actually contribute to weakening the muscles over time.
- Moist Heat – After the icing period, moist heat can be used after the swelling has subsided. Warm, moist compresses, showers and baths help to increase the metabolic action of the cellular components of the neck which helps to speed up healing in addition to alleviating pain.
- Ultrasound Treatment - Depending on your symptoms, our Wexford Chiro may prescribe ultrasound therapy and/or massage to help unbind restricted muscle injuries.
Whiplash Injuries - Recovery
Recovering from a whiplash injury varies from person to person. Some neck strains may take just a few days, while others will take weeks or even months. Everyone heals at different rates.
The role of the chiropractor is to help you not only directly treat your injury but to help you maximize your body’s natural ability to heal, which may include nutritional consultation and supplementation.
Acute neck pain symptoms may require rehabilitation to help you strengthen the neck muscles. If you follow the physical therapy prescribed, not only will it help you heal, it will help you be more limber and able to recover quickly the next time.
Gentle stretching exercises for the neck are used, along with range of motion movements to help increase neck range of motion.
When recovering from a whiplash injury, it is imperative that you do not rush the recovery period. Rushing through recovery may amplify the injury and cause a more severe problem.
Make sure that you are cleared by your doctor prior to resuming any activities which require neck strain. This can be contact sports or regular exercise routines.
Physical Activity can often times be resumed after the following are achieved:
- You have the ability to look over both shoulders without stiffness or pain
- You can, without pain, rock your head forward and back
- You can, without pain, move your head side to side
Doing any type of activities that further strain your neck after a whiplash injury may lead to chronic neck pain or even permanent neck injury.
Due to the accidental nature of a whiplash injury, there is not much that can be done to avoid it. There are, however, some people that are more susceptible to neck injuries and precautions can be taken to “lessen the blow” should you ever be involved in an accident or incident where whiplash injuries are eminent.
- Keep your neck muscles in shape, in particular if you already suffer from neck strain
- Keep your neck limber by stretching and exercising on a daily basis.
- Eat a healthy diet and keep the mass of your neck within the acceptable ranges set forth by the FDA.
If you suspect that you are suffering from a whiplash injury, call our Wexford Chiropractor today and schedule a free consultation.
Call: 724-400-4299 now and schedule your whiplash consultation.