If you have ever experienced any sort of collision or sudden jolt — situations typically involving a car accident of some sort — you may have sustained a residual pain in your neck and upper shoulders. Even if you walked away from the accident relatively unscathed and not feeling the need to seek medical care, have you been experiencing consistent neck pain, stiffness, dizziness or headaches?
This condition, commonly known as whiplash, typically appears 24 hours after an accident and can last days or weeks. In some cases, it can even kickstart continuous chronic pain. Here, we’ll dive into pain treatment methods, including both at-home remedies and professional medical care.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when your body — particularly your head and neck — moves suddenly with great force. It commonly happens during a car collision but could also be the result of physical abuse or a sports injury. This sudden, sharp movement causes the muscles and ligaments of the neck to extend unnaturally, resulting in mild damage and pain and stiffness. Less common symptoms of whiplash include ringing in the ears, poor sleep and chronic pain in the neck, shoulders or head.
Top Tips to Treat Whiplash Pain
While whiplash is typically a mild condition that will go away on its own as your neck ligaments heal, there are plenty of ways to soothe your pain in the meantime. These treatments include both at-home and over-the-counter remedies as well as potential medical options if your chronic pain persists or is inhibiting your life.
If you’re experiencing residual whiplash pain, try easing your discomfort with the following treatments:
- Take over-the-counter pain medication, like Tylenol or aspirin, to help ease any stiffness or aches. You may also opt for mild muscle relaxants to loosen any tight muscles.
- Apply an ice or heat pack to your neck to soothe and numb your tension.
- Practice good posture and relaxation techniques.
- Try simple physical therapy exercises to gently rebuild your neck’s strength and flexibility. This process may include exercises to stretch, roll or rub neck muscles.
- If you are given a foam collar following your accident, remember to follow all instructions and wear it as advised. Doing so can help keep your neck stable while it heals.
Professional Medical Options
If your pain persists longer than a few months and becomes chronic pain, it’s possible that you sustained damaged neck joints, ligaments or disks. However, many times, chronic pain caused by whiplash has no medical diagnosis or specific physical ailment that doctors can point to.
Concerned about persistent pain caused by whiplash? You may want to schedule an appointment with a doctor. The appointment may include a medical history check, an explanation of the accident that caused your whiplash and possibly a physical examination as well as an X-ray, CT scan or MRI. One or a combination of these options will allow an investigation into whether your whiplash is being triggered by pre-existing conditions or you have any related damage that could be causing your chronic pain.
From here, your doctor may be able to offer you a treatment plan to ease your residual pain.
How NJ Spine and Wellness Can Help
Experiencing any lingering symptoms of whiplash? NJ Spine and Wellness can help! We go above and beyond for every single one of our patients, providing pain management treatments and consultations for patients who may be candidates for surgical care. Our team consists of expert providers, from chiropractors and physical therapists to specialized neuro rehab and pain management providers. Together, we can help ascertain the causes of your residual pain and come up with a treatment plan tailored for you.
Make an Appointment With NJ Spine and Wellness Today
Contact NJ Spine and Wellness today to set up your consultation and appointment. If you’ve been dealing with residual whiplash pain, it’s time to take a stand. Give us a call or fill out our contact form to begin.