How to treat whiplash

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Whiplash is an injury to the neck that can happen during rear-end vehicular collisions, where the head abruptly jerks backward then forward which is comparable to the movement when cracking a whip. This motion pushes the neck muscles and ligaments more than the usual range of motion. Injuries caused by whiplash can be mild to severe and can be treated by over-the-counter pain relievers and applying a cold compress to the affected areas. Some people can recover from whiplash injury in just a few weeks by some can develop chronic pains after the injury. You can learn ways to manage this injury by enrolling in a class on first aid today.

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Symptoms of whiplash

  • Headache that can be felt at the base of the skull
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Blurry vision, dizziness and fatigue
  • There is difficulty in concentrating and memory problems
  • Experiencing ringing in the ears
  • Irritability and sleeping disturbances
Headache that can be felt at the base of the skull

Severe symptoms

  • Experiencing numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms
  • Severe pain when moving the head
  • The pain spreads to the shoulders or arms

Causes of whiplash

  • Vehicular accidents such as read-end collisions are the most common cause
  • Some physical abuse like being punched or shaken
  • Playing football and other sports-related collisions can sometimes cause whiplash injuries.

Treatment and home remedies

  • Take anti-inflammatory medications immediately, even if he/she is not yet experiencing pain.
  • Seek medical help if there is a serious injury in order to obtain prescription for anti-inflammatory pain medication and muscle relaxants.
  • Allow the neck to rest in a neutral and well-supported position in order to avoid looking up or down or from side to side. If there is pain caused by whiplash, move and find a position where the person cannot experience any pain.
  • Apply a cold compress on the neck for the first 24-48 hour in order to inflammation and neck pain.
  • Apply a warm compress after 48 hours since heat reduces tension on the affected muscles and facilitates nutrition to tissues that are damaged by increasing circulation.
  • Get a massage therapist for the neck pain. Massage will increase the circulation of blood. The blood that travels to the affected area will bring an increased flow of oxygen. Massage also helps in reducing emotional stress as well as increasing the range of motion.
  • Continue to apply warm compresses on the neck along with anti-inflammatory medications for several weeks.
  • Avoid straining the neck by doing exercises like sit-ups and by bringing books to eye level or use some pillows to support the arms so that the person will not lean over. If there is pain, stop the activity
  • Seek the help of a physical therapist for some exercises that will assist with the healing process from the injury caused by whiplash.

Tips and warnings

Check with the doctor before consulting a massage therapist on the whiplash injury. Do not ask for massage therapy less than 72 hours after the incident.

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