Characterized by neck pain and commonly associated with car accidents, whiplash can be uncomfortable and painful. Whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly jerked backward or forward, often as a result of a crash, fall, or sports-related injury. When the head sustains this abrupt damage the joints, discs, muscles, and nerves that surround the spine can be damaged.
In addition to neck pain and strain, whiplash can also bring about headaches, back and shoulder pain, dizziness, disruption of normal sleep patterns, and numbness. This acute pain can come on suddenly or be delayed by several hours as your body adjusts to the trauma. This pain may eventually go away on its own, or may become chronic.
Symptoms from whiplash usually respond well to antiinflammary medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Physical therapy or gentle movement exercises may also help you to regain your flexibility and reduce pain. Icing the neck can also help as it decreases painful swelling.
Whatever the extent or severity of your whiplash, your primary care provider can work with you to manage your pain, recommend a specialist if needed, and help you return to living the healthiest life possible.
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