The most common health complaint after an auto accident is neck pain. Neck pain caused by an accident is known as whiplash. Whiplash occurs when your neck suddenly moves backward and then forward due to extreme force. It often occurs in a rear-end collision.
Whiplash is the same as a neck sprain or strain. The only difference is that a whiplash lasts longer than usual neck pains. If you are going through persistent pain after an auto accident, you must consult a West Orange neck pain specialist; otherwise, it may significantly affect your quality of life.
Symptoms of whiplash
As the pain is similar to usual neck pain, identifying a whiplash can be difficult without professional help. Following are some symptoms of whiplash.
- Stiff muscles
- Muscles hurt when you touch them
- Reduction of movement in the neck
- Tender neck
- Difficulting chewing or swallowing food
- Ringing in the ears
Treatment options for whiplash
- Physical therapy
A physical therapist uses massaging techniques and manipulation to ease your pain. They may also suggest several neck exercises and tips to improve posture to restore your normal movement. Physical therapy can be beneficial as it eliminates the need to take medications or go through surgery. Physical therapies vary from person to person. Your provider first diagnoses your condition and creates a treatment program tailored to your needs.
Your doctor can prescribe several stretching and movement exercises to increase mobility in your neck and reduce discomfort. When in pain, it is essential to move your neck according to the instructions of your doctor to avoid worsening the condition. In some severe cases, the patient may need to rest their neck completely.
- Ice pack
You might notice that the neck becomes inflamed sometime after the accident. To reduce inflammation, you will be required to apply an ice pack to your neck for 15 minutes every three hours. You can do it even more frequently if you need it. However, remember not to apply the ice directly. Instead, wrap it in a cloth and then use it.
Various over-the-counter pain medications can temporarily provide relief to your neck pain. These may include Tylenol, Advil, Motrin IB, etc. NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Foam collars
Previously, soft foam cervical collars were thought to be useful for neck pains. However, research has shown that wearing the foam collar and keeping your neck still for a long time after the injury can decrease muscle strength and affect the recovery process.
However, collars can be helpful when you lie down. Recommendations for wearing a foam collar may differ, but it is suggested to minimize its use as much as possible.