Suspect You Might Have Whiplash? Your Doctor May Suggest These Treatments

21 March 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


Although whiplash is most commonly associated with being in a car accident, you can get this injury in other ways too. It happens when your head is suddenly jolted forward or backward in a whipping motion. This could happen when someone punches you, or when you're playing a contact sport. You can even get whiplash from falling down. So if you've had a recent accident or injury of some sort and have neck pain or stiffness, you should see your doctor to find out if you have whiplash. If you do, here are some of the treatments that may help.

Apply Ice

It's best to apply ice to your neck as soon as you can after the injury. This can help prevent swelling and pain. Use an ice pack or wrap ice in a wash cloth, so it doesn't burn your skin. Leave the ice pack in place for several minutes at a time throughout the day. You may want to go ahead and apply the ice to your neck, even if your symptoms are only mild. Sometimes the pain from whiplash doesn't develop for a few days, and you may be able to ward it off by starting treatment early.

Try Heat

After the swelling goes away, you can apply heat to your neck to speed healing and help with pain. Heat increases blood flow, so you don't want to use it immediately after your injury or it may cause the swelling to be worse. Use ice the first few days, and then switch to heat if it makes you feel better. You can soak in a hot tub of water or place a hot water bottle on your neck.


Your doctor may prescribe medications, depending on the severity of your injury and the amount of pain you experience. He or she may give you prescription pain medication or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. You might also need muscle relaxants or anesthetic injections. These medications may be needed if the pain interferes with your sleep, or if it keeps you from doing exercises that speed your recovery.

Physical Therapy

During the first days after your injury, it might be best to get as much rest as possible, but once that stage has passed, your doctor will probably recommend you begin neck stretches and exercises. A visit to a physical therapist is useful, since you'll be taught the proper way to do the most helpful type of motions. Although you may experience pain as you go through the movements, it is important to keep your neck mobile, so it will heal more quickly. If you wear an immobilization collar, or hold your neck stationary all the time to avoid pain, the muscles in your neck become weak. That can slow down your recovery.

Fortunately, whiplash is usually not very serious, although it may take you a few weeks to fully recover. However, each case is different. Some people feel the effects of the injury for years. You want to make sure you undergo the best course of treatment, so you have the best outcome. For that reason, you shouldn't try to treat whiplash on your own. Consult Rosser Chiropractic Center, so you get the right care.