How Can I Treat My Neck Pain after a Whiplash Injury?

In most cases, whiplash occurs from front- or rear-impact car accidents. It can also happen in the course of many different activities, from high-impact sports, like snowboarding or gymnastics, to slipping down a flight of stairs. Sustaining a whiplash injury may cause severe back and neck pain.

The United States alone has over two million accounts of whiplash injuries each year, and many of those report suffering from chronic or persistent neck pain. People often mistake whiplash for everyday aching, but this serious injury can cause immobility and dangerous afflictions if not properly treated.

What Are Common Symptoms of Whiplash?

Spine Health describes whiplash as forming when the neck and head jerk back and forth by a sudden force, putting the cervical spine through rapid movement and extreme stress. When we experience whiplash, the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck become irritated and inflamed. There are many common symptoms of whiplash; consider the following for some examples:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Lower back and shoulder pain
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness and pain in your arm or hand
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Tiredness

Indications of an injury might not show at the time sustained. They may not surface until 24 hours after the accident. While most individuals who encounter whiplash injuries recover in less than three weeks, some encounter chronic pain for more extended periods of time.

Ways to Relieve Pain from a Whiplash Injury

After an accident that results in a whiplash injury, your neck and shoulders may be sore and stiff. Many who experience whiplash sustain mild ligament sprains or muscle strains and can recover relatively quickly, but there are other cases where damage can take longer to heal.

Listed below are some examples of treatments for symptoms of whiplash:

  • Ice or heat application
  • Substantial rest
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Gentle active movement

The longer the injuries take to heal, the more severe the symptoms might be. If you’re experiencing persistent and aggressive whiplash symptoms, seek professional medical care immediately.

When Should I Make a Doctor’s Appointment for Whiplash?

Those using at-home recovery options and still experience symptoms after the recommended recovery time should seek medical care with a doctor as soon as possible. When your symptoms transform into hindering injuries, there could be nerve or bone damage.

Make an appointment with your primary care physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Neck instability
  • Tingling and numbness that spreads to the shoulder, arm, and hand
  • Balance or coordination problems
  • Increased irritability, depression, trouble sleeping, or other mental issues

Pain in the back, neck, or spine is frustrating and restricts our ability to go about daily responsibilities. We want to participate in many activities with friends, family, and even coworkers, but that can become difficult when recovering from a whiplash injury. Talking with a medical professional about quickly healing the surrounding area will help determine the severity of your injury and how long it might take to get back on track.

Find Passionate Spinal Surgeons at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

Whiplash and other spine, neck, and back injuries take time to heal. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our team of award-winning neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic specialists, and physicians use innovative technology and research to provide clients with high-quality medical care. Our primary goal is to get clients feeling free of pain and ready to return to their lives.

With both non-surgical therapy and minimally invasive surgeries, our countless treatment options allow our doctors to tailor a care plan specific to your needs. For more information on the many types of treatments we offer and to talk with one of our board-certified doctors, call (855) 853-6542 or fill out our online contact form.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to ongoing efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, our office hours may vary. However, our physicians will be offering ONLINE appointments during this time to address your medical needs. To learn more about this exciting new service, contact our patient advocates today!