How to Treat Whiplash

Aug 18, 2020

How to treat whiplashAs the most common car accident injury, whiplash is something we have all heard about, but not everyone knows what it actually entails. When your neck is subjected to rapid movement, either front to back or side to side, the tendons and ligaments in the area likely to stretch and tear. The majority of whiplash cases heal with time and care, but some more severe cases can become chronic if not addressed quickly by a Lithia Springs chiropractor. We’ve put together a guide on effectively treating whiplash to avoid any complications and long-term issues as a result of the injury.

Diagnosing Whiplash

Before your whiplash treatment, you will need to confirm that it is the root of your discomfort. While whiplash is common, other injuries from car accidents may cause similar symptoms, and you will want to rule out any more serious issues, like concussions or broken bones. You may undergo imaging, like an x-ray or MRI, to rule out these types of issues.

Most cases of whiplash can be diagnosed by reviewing symptoms with your doctor. The primary signs that you are suffering from whiplash are pain, stiffness, and loss of motion in the neck. These symptoms will likely appear within two days of your accident, though you can also experience them later in certain cases. Headaches, back and shoulder pain, tingling and numbness in the arms, and trouble sleeping can also indicate whiplash.

If you describe symptoms that sound like whiplash, you will likely undergo a non-invasive physical exam to determine the severity of your condition. This exam will consist of a series of basic movements as a way to see what your range of motion is- you will also be asked to rank your pain as you perform these movements. From this, a Lithia Springs chiropractor can usually assess your strength, reflexes, and any sensory issues.

Home Treatment for Whiplash

Once you begin to notice signs of whiplash, you should make an appointment with a health care provider as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can take steps at home to reduce your pain and prevent worsening of your whiplash symptoms. As you will likely feel pain when moving, it will be natural to rest your neck and avoid any exertion. However, you should also avoid keeping the neck in one position for a long period of time, as this can worsen the condition and make healing take longer.

For pain, you can also apply ice to your neck and shoulders for ten to fifteen-minute bursts of time, alternated with heat packs for the same duration. The ice will numb the area and reduce swelling, while the heat will soothe the muscles and enable movement.

Over-the-counter pain medication, particularly NSAIDs like ibuprofen, can reduce initial pain and address inflammation and swelling. You should always follow the dosage advice on the bottle and talk to your doctor about any potential interactions with other medications before using NSAIDs.

Medical Treatment Options

Once you are able to visit a chiropractor for your whiplash injury, they will be able to develop a treatment plan that fits your injury and your needs. There are a variety of treatment methods that can be applied to whiplash.

The goal of recovery from whiplash is to reduce pain and regain strength and range of motion in the neck. This is often accomplished through physical therapy, which uses a series of stretches and exercises to slowly reach this goal. You may work with a physical therapist to do some of these exercises, while some will be given to you to complete carefully at home. Exercises may be basic movements like tilting and rotating the head, lifting the arms, and rolling the shoulders.

Chiropractic adjustments are also an effective treatment, as they work to align your spine and allow the body to resume normal function. This alignment can reduce pain and restore normal movement in whiplash sufferers. Massage therapy may be used in conjunction with chiropractic care to alleviate muscle pain. Massage should be kept light, as to not aggravate the injury more, instead soothing the area and encouraging healing.

At AICA Lithia Springs, those suffering from whiplash are treated by experts in the care of car accident injuries. With a team of chiropractors, physical therapists, and orthopedic specialists, AICA Lithia Springs can offer a range of healing techniques designed to help you overcome whiplash. We also have an in-house imaging center to rule out other conditions before we begin treatment. If you may have suffered whiplash, contact us today to begin treatment.


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