Whiplash occurs when soft tissues in your neck tear as the result of being violently jerked sideways or pulled backwards or forwards. When serious, it can have a long recovery period and a detrimental effect on one’s everyday life. If you think you might be suffering from it, here are the steps that you should take.
See a doctor
Any neck injury is severe stuff. Book an appointment with a doctor as soon as you can – they will be able to determine the extent of your injury. You may have simply pulled a muscle, or alternatively you could have done some spinal damage. The CT scan or MRI scan may be suggested in some cases, just to be safe.
If whiplash is the diagnosis, you will most likely be recommended medication to ease the pain and swelling. A doctor may also recommend regularly putting ice on your neck for the first few days.
Consider making a claim
In some cases this won’t be necessary. However, if you can recall the source of your injury such as a vehicle crash or a contact sport and you think it could have been prevented, don’t be afraid to seek help from a personal injury lawyer.
Buy a firm pillow
You need to keep your posture right at all times to avoid causing more damage to your neck. This means keeping a good posture even when you’re asleep. Soft pillows don’t support your neck effectively – your head needs to be propped up whilst you sleep, so buy a firm pillow to take the pressure off.
Give acupuncture a go
Any form of therapy – physical or mental – can be worth trying out when recovering from an injury. There is some substantial evidence that acupuncture can greatly relieve the pain and tightness caused by whiplash, specially placed needles working as muscle relaxants. Remember to keep taking any prescribed medication whilst perusing this therapy – acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese medicine and should not be pursued solely as an alternative to modern methods.
Take a break from neck intensive activities
Having a neck injury, you will discover that certain day to day activities you never realised before use muscles in your neck. Driving is one of biggest surprises for many. You need to constantly be looking around you at mirrors and at the road, which requires you to have full control of your neck. If the slightest jerk causes searing pain, you may wish to take public transport or get someone else to drive you for the first few weeks of the recovery process.
Be careful of people talking to you from behind – your initial reaction might be to swiftly turn your head. Imagine that you’re wearing a neck brace, if you’re not already.
For some chewing, coughing and even breathing may be painful. It is important to keep eating through your injury and to similarly let your doctor know so that they may prescribe pain relief.