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How to Treat Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. In fact, for minor and moderate car accidents, whiplash can be one of the most severe injuries possible. Even mild whiplash can be very painful for an accident victim. Although whiplash is not a broken bone, it results in destruction and damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and discs in the body. These critical tissues may be slow to heal.

When you have whiplash, it’s essential to treat it correctly. With proper treatment, you can prevent further injury and reduce pain. Car accidents are only one way that whiplash occurs. There are a number of types of accidents and injuries that can cause this painful injury. We spoke to local Denver car accident attorney Kyle Bachus about whiplash and how best to treat it.

How to Treat Whiplash
To treat whiplash, you should avoid further strain to the affected area. Stabilize the impacted area using a neck brace or neck pillows as needed. You can use painkillers like ibuprofen under the supervision of a medical professional. Through consultation with your doctor, the right amount of rest, stabilization, strengthening, and stretching can help you recover quickly as you treat whiplash.

Steps to Treat Whiplash
Here are some steps to treat whiplash. However, it’s important to remember, your treatment plan depends on your personal symptoms and your doctor’s advice.

Rest immediately after the accident – When an accident occurs, your body releases adrenaline. Adrenaline helps mask the symptoms of your injuries so that you can respond to the accident. The thing to remember is that sometimes, your symptoms may not show right away. Keep in mind that your symptoms may become more severe over the next few days. You should rest right after the accident occurs until you know the full extent of your injuries. Taking it easy for a few days, even if you think your whiplash is minor, can help prevent your injuries from becoming worse.

Understand what whiplash is – To treat whiplash, you should understand what it is and how to treat it. Whiplash occurs when the body is thrown quickly in an unnatural way. If trauma puts unusual strain on the neck, back, and shoulders, it can damage the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves that are so important to normal function. The damage and its associated pain are called whiplash. Once you understand these symptoms, you can take the appropriate steps to treat your whiplash.

Understand the symptoms of whiplash – Symptoms vary from person to person. You might experience any of the following:

  • Sore neck, muscles, shoulders, and back
  • Stiffness
  • Aches and pains
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weariness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of range of motion
  • General discomfort

Ice within the first 24 hours – If the injuries are less than 24 hours old, you might benefit from applying ice to the injured area. Apply the ice for up to 20 minutes at a time using a protective barrier like a towel or a sheet. Ice helps reduce swelling and bleeding. It can also dull pain. Icing right after you have an accident that resulted in whiplash can be a helpful way to begin treatment of your injuries.

Wear a soft cervical collar – As you begin to heal from your whiplash, stabilizing your neck can help prevent your neck from experiencing further strain. For moderate to severe cases, you might wear a soft cervical collar or a neck brace until you can get into your doctor. In more mild cases, you might use a neck pillow or a rolled-up towel to cradle your neck while you sleep or sit on the couch.

Use pain medication like ibuprofen – Anti-inflammatory drugs can help with pain and inflammation. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can be useful in your treatment program for whiplash. Before you use any kind of medicine, even over the counter medicines, be sure to seek medical attention. Talk with your doctor about any proposed treatment plan, including the use of ibuprofen to treat your whiplash.

Strengthening – Over time, you can begin strengthening the injured areas. Helping the muscles become stronger can, in turn, help the damaged tendons, ligaments, and discs. It’s important to use a graduated system as you begin strengthening injured muscles. Remember that it takes time to rebuild muscles after periods of rest. A structured strengthening plan developed by your doctor or physical therapist can speed in the recovery process.

Stretches – Along with strengthening, stretching can help you heal from whiplash. Of course, you don’t want to jump into a stretching routine right away. After sufficient rest, gently stretching can help loosen sore tissues and aid in healing.

Chiropractic – Chiropractic services can help you recover from whiplash. Under the treatment of a professional, chiropractic treatment can adjust the back in ways that make your healing more effective. Chiropractic can help increase range of motion and remove restrictions of movement that can cause pain.

Injections for problem areas – If other forms of treatment aren’t sufficient to relieve pain, you may benefit from injections. Certain injections can numb pain in problem areas. Of course, you
need supervised medical treatment if you opt to receive injections. It may be helpful to exhaust other methods of treatment before considering injections.

Physical therapy – Physical therapy is a way to work with a trained professional on a recovery plan. Along with your medical care team, a physical therapist can oversee structured strength activities and stretching. Your physical therapist can meet with you for sessions and also give you things to work on in between meetings. Physical therapy can be an effective part of a holistic treatment plan for whiplash.

Recovering From Whiplash
Whiplash can be a serious and devastating injury. Proper treatment for whiplash can reduce pain and make your recovery more effective. Recovery time depends on how severe your whiplash is. It also depends on the specific micro-injuries within your muscles, tendons, and other tissues.

In all cases, a serious treatment program for whiplash can make it more manageable. The right experienced professionals, like the ones at Integrative Health and Rehabilitation can help you create a treatment plan that’s specific to your injuries and designed to meet your treatment goals.

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