Whiplash is an injury that occurs when the head suddenly moves backwards and then forwards. This injury usually occurs as the result of being rear-ended in a car accident. Most people recover from whiplash symptoms and treatment within a few weeks.
The symptoms of this injury usually present themselves within the first 24 hours. Neck pain, headaches, dizziness and blurred vision are some of the most common symptoms of this condition. Patients who have severe whiplash may experience difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances and memory problems.
Most patients can treat their whiplash at home with self-care remedies. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol and Advil, can reduce the discomfort of this injury. Applying Ice to the infected area can also alleviate the pain. Patients who do not experience relief with home remedies should return to their doctor.
A doctor can prescribe a medication that is stronger than the typical over-the-counter pain reliever. He may also prescribe a muscle relaxant. A muscle relaxant can ease the spasms that may accompany whiplash.
In the past, cervical collars were recommended. However, health experts have found that immobilizing the neck for a long period of time can actually impair recovery. Today, doctors recommend that cervical collars only be worn for three hours at a time during the first few days after whiplash.
There has also been evidence to suggest that alternative medicine practices, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and massage therapy can also treat whiplash. Acupuncture is a practice that involves inserting needles into different pressure points on the skin. Proponents of acupuncture believe that since it can treat all types of pain, it can also reduce the pain of whiplash.
Chiropractic care involves using a series of methods to manipulate the neck and spine. Even though chiropractic care can be effective, there have been a few cases reported of people who suffered life-threatening injuries.
Massage therapy involves kneading muscles in order to promote healing and relaxation. Massaging the affected area can reduce muscle spasms. Massage therapy is generally recommended for people who have been suffering from muscle spasms for one or two weeks after their injury.