Medical Care for Whiplash
If whiplash pain or related symptoms are severe and/or do not seem to be going away, medical care should be sought. Some combination of the following treatments could be used:
- Physical therapy. A treatment program run by a trained physical therapist or qualified health professional can help improve the neck’s strength and flexibility, which in some cases can relieve stress on the spine and reduce pain.
See Manual Physical Therapy for Pain Relief
- Prescription pain medications. If over-the-counter drugs have not successfully managed the pain, then prescription-strength medications, such as muscle relaxants and opioids, could be prescribed under the careful supervision of a physician.
See Narcotic Pain Medications
- Injections. In some cases, an injection is used to target a specific area. Some examples could be cervical epidural steroid injection (to reduce nerve and tissue inflammation from a disc herniation), cervical facet joint injection (to provide relief within the joint), and trigger point injection (to help an irritated muscle bundle).
See Facet Joint Injection Procedure
- Psychotherapy. If for any reason a person develops a psychological condition in the aftermath of a whiplash injury, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health professional can provide counseling to help work through, understand, and manage the issues. Medications could also be prescribed.
See Psychotherapy for Depression
- Manual manipulation. A chiropractor or other certified medical professional typically uses his or her hands to make manual adjustments to the spine in an effort to increase range of motion and reduce pain.
See Chiropractic Treatments for Whiplash
- Acupuncture. Some people report benefits from acupuncture, which involves placing thin needles in various strategic parts of the body depending on the condition being treated. When done by a licensed acupuncturist, the treatment is safe and has little to no pain.
See Acupuncture: An Ancient Treatment for a Current Problem
- Massage therapy. This treatment can be combined with others, such as physical therapy or manual manipulation. A massage can reduce pain by soothing muscle tension and spasms, as well as increasing blood flow.
See Massage Chairs for Pain Relief
- Radiofrequency neurotomy. This procedure targets specific nerves with heat to create a lesion that prevents the facet joint from sending pain signals to the brain.
See Radiofrequency Neurotomy for Facet and Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The above does not cover every possible treatment available for whiplash.
In addition to the above treatments, anything a person can do to lead a healthy lifestyle will generally be beneficial for neck pain. Some ideas can include healthy eating, getting enough rest (with an ergonomic pillow), good posture, not smoking, and staying active without causing further neck pain.
See Treatment for Neck Pain
A whiplash injury causing chronic pain and disability is the most misunderstood injury ordinary people face when suffered. It can exist without radiological evidence and much scepticism from experts and lay people. Going to your GP regularly to manage your treatment and trying out different options, while staying active, will likely lead to a better outcome. Don’t suffer in silence, call Salerno Law today 07 5575 8011.
The info graphics were kindly supplied by the wonderful Inez Tolley, who managed to fix a dodgy shoulder of mine in quick time.
Musculoskeletal Therapist (MST)
A: Suite 25, 2190 Gold Coast Highway, Miami, QLD 4220
Written by Peter Matus