The Bottom Line:
Your neck is made up of seven bones stacked on top of each other with a shock-absorbing disc between each level. Your neck is relatively flexible, so it relies on your muscles and ligaments for support. "Whiplash" describes what happens when these tissues are stretched too hard or too far, much like a rope that frays when it is stretched beyond its capacity.
Why Does It Matter:
Sprain/strain injuries cause your normal healthy elastic tissue to be replaced with less elastic "scar tissue." This process can lead to ongoing pain and even arthritis. Over half of those who are injured will have neck pain up to a year after their accident.
Seeking early and appropriate treatment, like the type provided in our office, is critical. If you are riding with others, it is quite possible that they too were injured. It would be in every passenger's best interest to be examined as soon as possible.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to limit heavy activity for a while, but you must understand that pain is a normal reaction to injury and that significantly limiting your activities of daily living may delay your recovery. You should try to "act as usual" and resume normal daily activities as soon as possible. Avoid heavy lifting, and take frequent breaks from prolonged activity, particularly overhead activity. Avoid wearing heavy headgear, like a hardhat or helmet, if possible. Cervical collars rarely help and should be avoided unless otherwise directed. You can apply ice for 10-15 minutes each hour for the first couple of days. Heat may be helpful thereafter. Ask your doctor for specific ice/heat recommendations. Some patients report partial relief from sports creams.
How We Can Help:
Getting you back to normal as soon as possible is our number one goal. To do so, we will likely recommend one or more of the following:
Joint Manipulation to gently restore movement to your neck.
Therapy Modalities to ease your muscle tightness, pain, and swelling.
Myofascial Release to improve circulation and relief pain.
Therapeutic Stretches to increase flexibility and ease the pain.
Our office treats neck pain from whiplash and many other causes. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, schedule a "Free Initial Consultation" with us.