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Car accidents are an unavoidable reality of commuting. Most are minor incidents in which all parties walk away injury-free. But sometimes, more serious injuries can occur. If you’re in an accident, it’s important to seek out medical attention afterward if you’re feeling any pain or discomfort. One of the most common injuries after a car accident is whiplash. Knowing what whiplash is can help you identify it, seek out help, and treat it.
Whiplash is defined as a neck injury that’s caused by a fast, forceful, back-and-forth jolt to the neck. Doctors liken it to the cracking of a whip.
Signs of whiplash
Whiplash is commonly caused by car accidents due to the way a passenger’s body can be jerked back and forth following impact. Someone who has been in a crash may experience this in the form of extreme neck strain caused by muscles and tendons that have stretched too far as a result of the force. Other symptoms of whiplash include headaches, tiredness, muscle tenderness and a decreased range of mobility in the neck. In some cases, you may notice signs of whiplash immediately, other times, side effects won’t kick in until days after an incident.
While whiplash can be incredibly uncomfortable, it typically heals with time. Taking these steps can help speed up the recovery process.
- Ice your neck: to reduce swelling, hold a cold compression against your neck multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes. To prevent yourself from injuring your skin in the area, wrap the ice pack in a bag or towel.
- Apply heat to the neck: After a few days of icing, use a hot compress on your neck. You can do this with a hot towel, or a hot compression bottle.
- Use over-the-counter drugs: Painkillers like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin can help relieve pain. Read the directions before using any and consider all of the side effects.
Treatment with chiropractic care
While these are several ways to treat whiplash on your own, in some cases, a more focused approach is required. If this is the case, consider visiting a chiropractor. Chiropractic care focuses on alleviating pain and healing injuries with a focus on neck and back pain. Due to the specialized nature of chiropractic care, a chiropractor can create a unique recovery regiment specific to your accident and injury.
Each case of whiplash is unique, but chiropractors use several techniques to treat and relieve pain. Spinal manipulation focuses on joint dysfunction, in which a chiropractor carefully moves the injured joints in the direction in which they’re restricted. Muscular relaxation is another relief technique. A chiropractor can help stretch strained muscles by applying varying degrees of pressure to the injured areas. They might also use different types of exercises to treat whiplash. Suggested exercises will target disc derangement caused by whiplash. Eventually, these exercises can be done by the patient on their own.
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