Although quite common, whiplash is an often overlooked injury. Whiplash can happen during a fall, in a car accident, assault or during contact sports or horseback riding.
The 3 most common whiplash symptoms
Every injury is different. The insidious thing about whiplash is that it may not show up until hours or even days after the car accident or event. That is why it's important to be seen by a medical professional right away after any type of head or neck strain.
According to Web MD and other sources the most reported whiplash symptoms are:
- Decreased range of motion and numbness in the arms
- Pain, aches or stiffness in the neck, shoulders and back
- Headaches and/or dizziness
The difference between a neck strain and sprain
There is a difference between neck strain and neck sprain and they are not exactly the same thing. Strain means that the neck muscle or are damaged. Sprains to the neck means that the ligaments (which hold bones together) are torn. The severity and recovery time for whiplash can vary greatly.
How to treat mild whiplash
After you have been checked out by a doctor you can self-treat mild whiplash. Most medical professionals agree that reducing inflammation is key. This can be done a few different ways.
- Ice your neck for 15 minutes several times a day. Do not put ice directly on the skin.
- Use oral OTC painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen.
- Use a neck brace short term (for a day or two) to limit painful movement. Do not use a neck brace long term with out medical supervision as this can cause muscles to weaken from lack of use.
Because whiplash can also affect the shoulders and back, many people report that massage is helpful to reduce pain and aches and improving range of motion. Serious neck strains and sprains always require an examination by a medical professional. An evaluation and diagnosis may prevent a painful injury from becoming worse or chronic.