While it is always advised you seek the care of an experienced medical expert whenever you are injured, unfortunately, you won’t always have a professional by your side. While a doctor may provide you with a diagnosis, medication, and treatment options, once you get home, it is up to you to take the necessary steps to heal. Because whiplash injuries are far from uncommon and only require serious attention in extreme cases, there is only so much a medical professional can do to ease an accident victim’s pain. Here, we want to discuss the ways you can treat a whiplash injury at home and heal correctly.
What Is Whiplash?
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is an injury of the neck that occurs due to violent back-and-forth movement of the neck and head, usually as the result of some form of impact. Typically, this form of injury is associated with car crashes, which the accident attorneys at Gary C. Johnson note as being one of the most common forms of car accident injury. While whiplash is most commonly seen in car accidents, it can happen after any event that causes forceful motion to the neck.
Thankfully, after seeing a medical professional, most whiplash injuries can be treated from the comfort of your own home. Most whiplash victims can fully recover after a few weeks of proper care, but there are unfortunates that may suffer from chronic neck pain following the injury. Here are a few tried and true at-home practices to help you recover.
Alternating Between Heating And Icing
When a patient suffers a soft tissue injury that leads to pain, swelling, and loss of movement, many doctors will suggest that you treat the injury with a combination of heating and icing. While both processes are beneficial in their own ways, a combination of the two is usually suggested. Icing can help decrease inflammation and potentially ease any immediate discomfort you may be experiencing, whereas heating will loosen the muscles and enhance blood flow and nutrients to the damaged area. Pro Care Medical Center also suggests always wrapping your ice pack or heating pad in a towel before placing it on the skin.
As with any soft tissue injury, it is likely that a doctor or a physical therapist may recommend a series of light stretching techniques that pinpoint the specific injured area. By no means is this the type of stretching one might usually do before and after exercise. These post-accident stretches can be as simple as slowly turning your head from side to side to encourage a range of motion. However, WebMD explains that you should only begin stretching after the recommendation from your doctor because your neck might not be ready for any movement at all.
Medication can be an effective way to curb the pain and discomfort of a whiplash injury. Unless your injury is incredibly severe, it is likely that a medical professional may recommend taking over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve to help with your injury symptoms. Of course, it is important to note that all of these medications have side effects, so you speak to your doctor before starting any medication regimen.
Avoid Further Damage
If you want your neck to heal fast and correctly, the first step is to ensure that you don’t cause any further damage to your injury. Typically, this means taking it easy in order to not avoid any unnecessary strain or overuse of an already injured area. This can be seen as an annoyance to some, because it may mean putting your life on hold, but it will greatly benefit you in the future. Nevertheless, The Spine Institute notes that too much rest can weaken the neck, which is always something to keep in mind while recovering.
Although whiplash is an injury that most people want to avoid, the good news is that it isn’t life-threatening and rarely lasts forever. Paired with the proper medical assistance and a strict at-home healing regiment, whiplash accident victims can find themselves back at 100% neck health in no time. If you were injured in a car accident at the fault of another driver, personal injury attorneys at Hanson & Mouri advise seeking legal representation before continuing with a settlement amount. You deserve to recover fully, both emotionally and physically, for the damage caused by the accident.