Over three million Americans are seen each year by their physicians or chiropractic for whiplash injury. What is a whiplash injury? Often times, this will occur after a sporting incident or a motor vehicle accident. According to Mayo Clinic, a whiplash injury is the sudden jerking motion of the head that results in a stiffness of the neck inflammation, as well as rigidity and tightening of muscles.
When patients walk into a chiropractor’s office, not only are they complaining of neck pain that happens within the first 24-48 hours after injury, but they are also complaining of headaches. Why does that happen? What happens is when the muscles tightened down, it causes an impingement of a nerve. This can result in radiating hand pain as well as headaches. That is why it is so important to treat this immediately.
You need to be icing for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and repeat that every hour. You should alternate heat and ice. You can start by using heat first, and immediately followed by ice. You may repeat that every hour.
Oftentimes your physician may put you on a cervical collar. Cervical collars are only used when you are in pain. The reason here is because you want to limit the range of motion and help decrease those symptoms. Also, this allows you to decrease pain by keeping the proper posture of the neck and alignment, as well as the curvature and allowing those muscles to naturally relax on their own. Many physicians suggest 5 to 7 days of using a cervical collar, as long as you have pain, and then removing it.