Whiplash is a type of neck strain where the muscles and tendons are stretched and torn. This injury is commonly associated with car accidents, though it can also occur in contact sports and other accidents.
When a strong impact causes the head to jerk forward and backward, the muscles and tendons are literally strained out of their normal range of motion, which leads to overstretching and tearing.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and experience symptoms of pain, tightness, and stiffness in your neck, you should schedule an appointment with a car accident doctor to determine if you are suffering from whiplash.
Home Remedies for Whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash do not always occur right after the accident and can actually take a few hours or days to fully develop. In mild cases, your doctor may be able to recommend remedies you can do from the comfort of your home, such as icing your neck to help manage the pain and reduce swelling in the area. This is especially important during the first few days after the accident. After the swelling has gone down, your doctor may also recommend warm compresses to soothe the muscles. In many mild cases of whiplash, these self-care activities can greatly reduce symptoms.
Experiencing pain from whiplash can be difficult to ignore because of how important head and neck movements are to your daily activities. In order to help ease the pain associated with your whiplash diagnosis, your doctor may recommend you use over-the-counter pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help with both pain and swelling.
It is important to thoroughly discuss this plan with your doctor, along with any other medications you are taking and any underlying health concerns, to avoid any unwanted side effects. If over-the-counter medications are not enough to manage your pain, you should speak to your doctor about your experience and they may recommend prescription pain-killers or muscle relaxants.
When it comes to assessing you for whiplash, an orthopedic doctor wants to review all your musculoskeletal symptoms and address where the pain is coming from and all areas affected. Based on this examination and the severity of your symptoms, an orthopedic doctor may also recommend you use a neck brace or collar to help stabilize the neck while the inflammation decreases and the muscles heal.
In severe cases of whiplash, you may require surgery with an orthopedic surgeon to realign the neck and spine or repair a herniated disc. Orthopedic care also addresses any damage to soft tissues in the neck and back.
Many doctors will prescribe massage along with at-home remedies and pain medication in order to help the healing process for the muscles and tendons. Physical therapists gently manipulate the muscles around the neck and along your back to encourage blood flow and help alleviate pain and feelings of tightness and tenderness.
A physical therapist may also work with you to develop exercises and potential at-home activities to help safely increase your range of motion after experiencing stiffness in the neck.
After an auto accident, you may be experiencing symptoms of whiplash and also general pain and discomfort in your back. Chiropractors provide gentle approaches to identifying misalignments of the spine and neck, and in cases of whiplash, realignment can help bring the body back to its natural position and alleviate pain symptoms. Chiropractic care can also assist with getting your range of motion back by gentle manipulations to the neck and spine to ensure proper alignment.
The AICA Individualized Treatment Plan
At AICA Orthopedics, our teams of multi-specialty doctors treat each patient with the quality care you deserve. Our team develops an individualized treatment plan to address your specific symptoms, diagnosis, and experience in order to provide you with the treatment approaches to help you heal safely and swiftly.
An individualized treatment plan at AICA can include care with orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and more because all of our services are offered in-house. Our highly trained medical team has the experience to treat whiplash and provide a collaborative care approach to help you heal. Call AICA Orthopedics today to schedule an appointment.