12 Feb How Long Does It Take for Whiplash to Heal?
What is Whiplash?
Although usually associated with motor vehicle accidents, any impact or blow that causes a sudden acceleration-deceleration force can cause neck strain called whiplash. The sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons causing neck pain after a car accident or other abrupt force such as from contact sports or roller coasters.
Neck strains can often be confused with neck sprains.
- Neck strains: usually caused by damage to the tendons or muscles, bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones.
- Neck sprains: are caused by tearing of the ligaments; the tissues that connect the bones to each other.
Whiplash Symptoms Include:
- Decreased range of motion, pain, and tightness in the neck, muscles may feel hard or knotted
- Pain or tenderness when moving your head
- Stiffness or pain when moving your head to look over each shoulder
- Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate towards the forehead
Treatment for Whiplash from Car Accident
Whiplash injuries used to be treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. Things have progressed, and now most physicians encourage movement over immobilization.
In addition to medication, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy play a crucial role in recovery. You may also want to apply ice or heat to the injured area and practice simple exercises to build strength and flexibility in your neck. Practice good posture and learn relaxation techniques to keep your neck muscles from straining and to help with recovery.
Once the acute symptoms of neck strain are gone, your chiropractor may suggest rehabilitation to strengthen your neck muscles and increase their flexibility. This will reduce the odds of straining your neck and help you to recover correctly.