- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 30 views
Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma.Common signs and symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness and headaches. Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes pain medication and exercise. However, some people have chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications.Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.
Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually â€” but not always â€” develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Some people also have:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
The goals of whiplash treatment are to:
- Control pain
- Restore normal range of motion in your neck
- Get you back to your normal activities
-Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your whiplash injury. Some people only need over-the-counter medication and at-home care. Others may need prescription medication, specialized pain treatment or physical therapy.
-Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments to lessen pain:
- Rest. Rest may be helpful during the first 24 hours after injury, but too much bed rest may delay recovery.
- Heat or cold. Either heat or cold applied to the neck for 15 minutes up to six times a day can help you feel better.
- Over-the-counter pain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), often can control mild to moderate whiplash pain.
- Prescription medications. People with more-severe pain may benefit from treatment with certain antidepressant drugs that have been shown to relieve nerve pain.
- Muscle relaxants. Short-term use of these drugs may be recommended to loosen tight muscles and soothe pain. The medicine also can make you feel sleepy. It may be used to help restore normal sleep if pain prevents you from getting a good night's rest.
- Injections. An injection of lidocaine (Xylocaine) â€” a numbing medicine â€” into painful muscle areas may be used to decrease pain so that you can do physical therapy.
-Your doctor will likely prescribe a series of stretching and movement exercises to help restore range of motion in your neck and get you back to your normal activities. Exercises may include:
- Rotating your neck in both directions
- Tilting your head side to side
- Bending your neck toward your chest
- Rolling your shoulders
*Applying moist heat to the achy area or taking a warm shower may be recommended before exercise.
-If you have ongoing whiplash pain or need assistance with range-of-motion exercises, your doctor may recommend that you see a physical therapist. Physical therapy (PT) can help you feel better and may prevent further injury.Your physical therapist will guide you through exercises to strengthen your muscles, improve posture and restore normal movement. In some cases, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may be used. TENS applies a mild electric current to the skin. Limited research suggests this treatment may temporarily ease neck pain. More research is needed to determine if it aids long-term recovery.
*How many PT sessions are needed vary from person to person. Your physical therapist also can create a personalized exercise routine that you can do at home.
-Soft foam cervical collars were once commonly used for whiplash injuries to hold the neck and head still. However, studies have shown that keeping the neck still for long periods of time can decrease muscle strength and interfere with recovery.Recommendations for using a collar vary. Some suggest limiting use to no more than 72 hours, while others say it may be worn up to three hours a day for a few weeks. Your doctor will instruct you on how to properly use the collar, and for how long. Your doctor may also recommend use of a collar if it helps you sleep at night.
-Whiplash typically occurs when your head is forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward. This motion can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck.
A whiplash injury may result from:
- Auto accidents. Rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash.
- Physical abuse or assault. Whiplash can occur if you are punched or shaken. It's one of the injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
- Contact sports. Football tackles and other sports-related collisions can sometimes cause whiplash.
-Most people who have whiplash feel better within a few weeks. However, some people continue to have pain for several months or years after the injury occurred.It is difficult to predict how each person with whiplash may recover. In general, you may be more likely to have chronic pain if your first symptoms were intense, started rapidly and included:
- Severe neck pain
- Pain that spread to the arms
- The following risk factors have been linked to a worse outcome:
- Having had whiplash before
- Older age
- Existing low back or neck pain