What Should I Do If I Think I May Have Whiplash?
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What Should I Do If I Think I May Have Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury where the soft tissues in the neck receive an injury. The injury is typically received if you neck is suddenly jerked or “whipped” around. If you have received this type of injury there are several things you can do.

Whiplash is an injury where the soft tissues in the neck receive an injury. The injury is typically received if you neck is suddenly jerked or “whipped” around. If you have received this type of injury there are several things you can do.

A whiplash injury is generally received when an automobile is stopped suddenly in an auto accident. A seat belt is designed to restrain you in an auto accident. However, when you are in an auto accident your body is thrown forward, but your head may snap forward and then back suddenly before the rest of your body. This unnatural movement of your body is called whiplash.

In addition to auto accidents, whiplash can occur from riding roller coasters and other rides in amusement parks, injuries while playing sports as well as being punched or shaken. Whiplash is one of the telltale signs of “shaken baby syndrome”.

Signs of whiplash

• Pain and stiffness in the neck and surrounding area that last for the first few days after the injury

• After the initial pain you may have a lapse in pain, a point where you feel as if you are getting better, but then you will experience the same pain but worse several days later

• Muscles and groups of muscles in your head, chest, shoulders and arms can occur

• The discomfort can be mainly in your neck but can spread or radiate down your back and chest

First aid

• Many people would like to apply heat to the injured area first. DON’T. It’s best to apply ice to reduce the swelling. If you apply heat you may aggravate the injury

• Over the counter pain relievers should be taken. These include aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen

• For at least 2-3 weeks avoid activities that bring on or worsen your pain and stiffness.

• Do not lift or carry anything heavy or participate in sports

• If you have pain when you move your head which encompasses your shoulders or arms, your doctor may recommend a soft neck collar or short term prescription drug to relax the muscles.

You should contact your physician for whiplash for the following reasons;

• The pain in your neck and stillness continues or comes back after it was resolved.

• The pain spreads to your shoulders

• You have pain when you are moving your head

There are some hints to prevent whiplash. Headrests in your car can reduce the severity of neck pain from a car accident. Make sure that the headrest is positioned correctly for the height of the passenger in the seat.

If you do get whiplash, learn proper stretching exercises once your neck is healed. Proper stretching exercises will lessen the chance that your neck pain or stiffness will return.

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Comments (3)

Great article! As someone who has had whip lash, I know how painful it can be!

Really good advice, my mother had this once and it was really painful for her. buzzing this up.

Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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