Whiplash: A Pain in the Neck

Female with whiplash

Whiplash happens in an instant: you twist your neck while playing sports, falling or from being rear-ended in a car accident. This acceleration causes a flexion-extension injury— commonly known as “whiplash,” and can really be a pain in the neck!

In other words, whiplash occurs when an abnormal force causes your neck to move beyond its normal range of motion. Depending on the severity of your injury, symptoms can include

  • neck pain and swelling;
  • difficulty moving your neck from side to side;
  • muscle spasms;
  • tenderness along the back of the neck; or
  • shooting pain from your neck to your shoulder or arm.

Whiplash Treatment

Your physician will examine you and perhaps take x-rays to ensure that there are no fractures or disc injury and that your injuries won’t lead to long-term problems. Every injury is different, and so is the treatment plan for each patient.

Following whiplash, it is possible that your physician will recommend a cervical collar and treatment at home. This could include cold packs, applied to the neck for 20–35 minutes 3–4 times daily, for the first 48 hours following injury, as well as pain relievers and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve swelling.

Once the pain begins to subside, you may benefit from seeing us. We can initiate whiplash treatment program to promote flexibility and blood flow. We can also recommend exercises you can do at home to restore your neck to normal mobility and increase strength in the neck muscles to help avoid whiplash and injuries in the future.

Whiplash is no laughing matter, don’t wait for pain to go away on its own! Click below to request an appointment at one of our 19 Northern Virginia locations.

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