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Whiplash Injury Pain Relief

A whiplash neck sprain is common after a road traffic accident. Symptoms usually ease and go without any specific treatment. It is best to keep the neck active and moving. If required, painkillers can ease pain.

What is a whiplash neck sprain?

A whiplash neck sprain occurs when your head is suddenly jolted backwards and forwards (or forwards then backwards) in a whip-like movement, or is suddenly forcibly rotated. This can cause some neck muscles and ligaments to stretch more than normal (sprain). The common cause is when you are in a vehicle that is hit from behind by another vehicle. Being in a vehicle hit from the side or front can also cause a whiplash sprain.

Damage to the spine or spinal cord sometimes occurs from a severe whiplash accident. This is uncommon and is not dealt with in this article. This article deals only with the common whiplash sprain to neck muscles and ligaments. It assumes that you have been assessed by a doctor and serious neck injury has been ruled out.

What are the symptoms of a whiplash neck sprain?

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck. It may take several hours after the accident for symptoms to appear. The pain and stiffness often become worse on the day after the accident. In about half of cases, the pain first develops the day after the accident.
  • Turning or bending the neck may be difficult.
  • You may also feel pain or stiffness in the shoulders or down the arms.
  • There may be pain and stiffness in the upper and llower part of the back.
  • Headache is a common symptom.
  • Dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the jaw or pain on swallowing, unusual sensations of the facial skin may occur for a short while, but soon go. Tell a doctor if any of these persist.
  • Some people feel tired and irritable for a few days and find it difficult to concentrate.

First Aid for whiplash injury?

Steps to take care of your whiplash injury include:

  • Apply heat or ice to the painful area. It is recommended to use ice for the first 48-72 hours and heat afterwards. Heat may be applied with hot shlowers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be careful not to fall asleep with ice or heat applied as a freeze or heat burn may result.
  • Reduce or cease normal physical activity for a few days as this will assist in reducing inflamation
  • Sleep on a firm mattress with a supportive pillow or a neck pillow
  • Use a soft neck collar for a period to relieve discomfort but do not use this for a long period as a weakening of neck muscles can result.
  • Undertake Scenar treatments for pain relief as required

Further it is recommended that you avoid activities requiring heavy lifting or twisting for 6 weeks after the injury. After 2-3 weeks you should commence gentle exercise and consult a physical therapist to advise on the form of exercise most appropriate for you. You will need stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck. Most importantly, get a diagnosis from your doctor as soon as possible. Whiplash can be very nasty indeed.

Sceanr treatment and whiplash

Neck and shoulder pain are common issues that respond well to SCENAR treatment. We have noticed a specific pattern of asymmetries that are associated with whiplash injury. The asymmetries appear at the base of the back of the neck in the area where a necklace typically lays. In 100% of the cases where this pattern appears, when we have asked if the client has ever experienced an injury to the neck (such as a car acccident, falling off a horse, or taking an unexpected fall), they share some event where whiplash likely occurred. More often than not, it was never specifically treated.

Most people don’t realise that a whiplash injury can affect more than just the neck and the effects can be long lasting, many incidents happening as far back as 20 years previously. Scenar Therapy, as with other back issues, is excellent at dealing with whiplash injuries. The longer the whiplash injury is left untreated the more likely other areas of the back will be effected as the body tries to compensate.


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