What is Whiplash?

Whiplash affects a person’s neck and is a relatively common injury. Most commonly it occurs from motor vehicle accidents, causing rapid unrestrained forward and backward movement of the head and neck.

Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash can be very painful and hard to ignore. You may experience tightness in the neck to where your muscle may feel hard or knotted. You may have pain and a decreased range of motion. When rocking your head side to side or backward and forward you may also have pain. You should expect some tenderness as well. Radiating towards the forehead, you may have headaches that start at the base of the skull. Your neck pain may be immediate or hurt several hours or days after your injury.

How to Recover

Whiplash should heal on its own, give it some time. As soon as you can after the injury you must ice your neck to reduce pain and swelling. This should be done for 2-3 days every 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours. To prevent a skin injury wrap the ice in a towel or cloth. If recommended or prescribed by your doctor take painkillers. Advil, Motrin and Aleve are all suitable for alleviating whiplash pain. If your doctor recommends it, use a neck brace or collar to add support. However, a neck brace can actually weaken the muscles in your neck so they are not recommended for long term use. After 2-4 days of icing your neck you should apply moist heat to your neck. After the initial swelling has gone down you should use heat on your neck.

Did you know that you do not need a referrals for physical therapy? For more information call The Physical Therapy Alliance (516) 568-4444 with locations in Massapequa, Valley Stream, Wantagh and Lindenhurst.