What are the Symptoms and Treatments of Whiplash

Ever experienced whiplash? Here we'll explain the symptoms and treatments of whiplash so that you're fully equipped and know what to look out for.

If you’ve ever experienced whiplash, then you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say it’s absolutely crippling. It almost feels like someone is sitting on your neck and trying to strain it as far as they can. Most people tend to find that whiplash gets better after a few weeks, but if you’re not that lucky, then hopefully these treatments can help you out.

What is whiplash?

If you’re lucky enough to have never experienced neck sprain or neck strain before, also known as whiplash, then hats of to you! If you’ve heard of it but are not quite sure exactly what it is, the only way we can describe it is that its damage to your neck, which has been caused by rapid and sudden movement.

Basically, if your head jerks forward, backward, or sideways too quickly, you could sprain your neck and cause it some damage. Essentially, whiplash is when the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots become strained.

Whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents, but that’s not to say that it can’t be caused as a result of other things like sports accidents and falls, etc. Generally, most people tend to find that whiplash gets better within a few weeks, but there are the odd few that do require further treatment to help them with their pain.

What are the symptoms?

You may find that symptoms of whiplash can be delayed for up to 24 hours after trauma, If you find that you have experienced whiplash, you might find that you experience some of these common symptoms:

  • neck pain and tenderness
  • neck stiffness
  • headaches
  • muscle spasms
  • pain when moving your head to look over each shoulder

There are also so much less common symptoms too, which include dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, and pins and needles in your arms and hands.

If you find that you do have any of the above symptoms, all we can say is ride it out. Your symptoms might feel worse for a day or two after your injury but this will usually improve itself after a couple of weeks. Let’s say for some bizarre reason, your whiplash doesn’t seem to be improving after a couple of weeks, or it gets worse, you might want to think about looking for some treatment.

Whiplash injury

Treatments for whiplash

Generally, whiplash will usually get better on its own, but it’s difficult to predict how each person will recover and how quickly. If you do find that your whiplash is not improving on its own then you may need some basic treatment.

Although there is no single treatment for whiplash, your standard pain relief, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can do the trick. It’s also advised that you try resuming normal activities as soon as you can to help encourage your muscles to move. You can understand why moving will help rather than them becoming even stiffer.

On top of any medication that you might take, if you’re still in severe pain after having tried the above treatments, then you may need to be referred for specialist treatment, which could include physiotherapy who can provide further advice on exercise and recovery.

It’s all about building up that strength again and flexibility within your neck. Many people find that practicing their posture and relaxation techniques can also help with recovery too.

Complications associated with whiplash

Some people can be really unlucky with whiplash and can experience the worst chronic pain that you can imagine. If you do happen to be someone that is suffering from chronic pain following a whiplash injury, then we’re so sorry. As far as things go, there is currently no medical explanation for this just yet. Fingers crossed!

The day when doctors are able to trace the pain to damaged neck joints will be a miracle that we’ve all been waiting for. Usually, people who have suffered from whiplash, tend to be over it within around 3 months, so not too long.

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