Treatment And Recovery From Whiplash Injuries

by allan46 on January 9, 2011

Copyright (c) 2010 Robert Gray

A whiplash injury occurs when the head and neck are suddenly and forcefully thrown back and forth, usually – but not always – as a result of a car accident. Whiplash injuries vary in severity and the symptoms of whiplash injuries are not always immediately apparent. In fact, in can often take several hours, or even days, for the first symptoms of whiplash to appear. These symptoms may include stiffness in the neck and back, bruising and swelling, and restricted movement.

If you have sustained a serious whiplash injury it is likely that you will be taken to hospital by ambulance where your injuries will be assessed and you will receive the appropriate treatment. However, if your injuries are less severe, you should seek advice from your GP or local Accident & Emergency Department as soon as possible so that your injuries can be assessed. Your GP or the hospital staff will advise you on the appropriate steps to take to aid your recovery and will give you advice regarding painkillers and further treatment options. However, as discussed above, at your first visit to your GP or local hospital your whiplash symptoms may not yet be apparent so it is important that you return for further medical advice as soon as any further symptoms appear.

It is likely that you will be advised by medical staff to apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce any bruising and swelling. You may also require painkillers which will either be prescribed by your GP or will be available over the counter.

In the past it was very common to see sufferers of whiplash injuries sporting cervical collars. Although collars are still used occasionally following a whiplash injury, their use is becoming less frequent as medical advice now tends to be to mobilise the neck as gently and frequently as possible to prevent further stiffness and restricted movement. Soft collars are still administered to some patients but they will always be accompanied with guidelines as to how long, and how often, they should be worn and it is important that these guidelines are followed.

In more persistent cases of whiplash injuries it may be necessary to undergo chiropractic or osteopath treatment. The former type of treatment looks at joint, muscle and ligament damage whilst the latter type applies manual force to the area to try and increase the range of movement back up to a level which is considered ‘normal’ for the patient. Both chiropractic treatment and osteopathy can be arranged either privately or on the NHS (through a referral from your GP).

It is very uncommon for whiplash injuries to require surgery but in the more severe cases of the injury surgery may become necessary.

If you think you may be suffering from a whiplash injury it is important that you seek advice from your GP or local Accident & Emergency Department as soon as you become aware of your symptoms. Any delay in seeking treatment or advice may delay your recovery period or even exacerbate your injury.

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