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What To Do for Whiplash After a Car Accident

Whiplash After Car Accident in New York

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people sustain in car accidents, and, likewise, the most common causes of whiplash injury are vehicle collisions. In some cases, whiplash neck pain can be treated at home. However, whiplash can become severe and result in long-lasting complications. Despite this fact and the prevalence of car-accident-induced whiplash, many car crash victims do not seek treatment for it. Whiplash injuries typically occur during an excessive back and forth neck movement during an auto accident, typically a rear-end collision or contact sports injury. While this is understandable, as whiplash symptoms typically do not arise until hours or days following an accident, the best thing you can do to protect your health and legal rights to future compensation is to seek an evaluation from an experienced whiplash doctor as soon after your accident as possible.

The Symptoms of Whiplash

Because whiplash-associated disorder usually involves soft-tissue injuries and no broken bones, there is no single test or x-ray your car accident injury doctor will use to provide an accurate diagnosis of the condition. Instead, specialists will rely on your self-assessment and explanations of the type of pain you experience, where it occurs in the body and what movements trigger it. 

Symptoms that indicate you have Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) include the following:

  • Pain, tightness in the neck, and decreased range of motion of the neck
  • Tenderness in the shoulders, neck, and back
  • Headaches that start at the base of your skull and radiate down and outward
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
  • Pain or stiffness when moving your head
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and tinnitus

Some car accident victims develop symptoms of whiplash immediately following their accidents. Others, however, may not develop symptoms until hours or days after the incident. Regardless of how you feel after a collision, it is crucial that you seek an evaluation from a whiplash doctor immediately and that you take steps to prevent the worsening of your condition.

At-Home Care for Whiplash

In some cases, auto accident doctors in New York and New Jersey can determine that you can treat WAD with at-home care. Pain management is the primary goal of whiplash treatment, improving range of motion, relieving neck pain,  and preventing long-term complications. To accomplish the primary purpose of managing pain, your doctor may recommend that you do the following:

  • Rest: Your doctor may recommend that you rest the injured area for a day or two but that you do not overdo it, as too much rest can delay recovery.
  • Apply Heat and Ice: Applying heat and ice alternately every 15 minutes for three hours a day can help reduce swelling and relax the muscles.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: If your case is mild, your car accident injury doctor may prescribe OTC pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
  • Prescription Medications: If your injury is more severe, your doctor may write you a short-term prescription for drugs that are proven to relieve nerve pain.
  • Muscle Relaxants: A large part of the pain you experience due to whiplash stems from tight muscles. Muscle relaxants can help loosen the neck muscles and alleviate tension and discomfort.
  • Injections: Your doctor may administer a numbing injection at the site of the pain to decrease the pain enough for you to engage in strength-building exercises and physical therapy.

As your body begins to heal, your doctor may add a range of motion exercises and stretches to your treatment plan.

Professional Care for Whiplash

More severe cases of whiplash and associated neck pain may require more intensive treatment measures. If at-home care is not sufficient for your injury, or if you do not show any significant level of improvement after a week or so, your doctor may recommend professional treatment. The most common forms of treatment for whiplash include the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Strengthening exercises and stretches
  • Wearing a neck brace
  • Injections, such as an epidural, to block pain receptors

If you suffer herniated discs or spinal fractures along with whiplash, you may require surgery.

Seek Help From the Right Auto Accident Doctors in New York and New Jersey

A car accident and its ensuing consequences can have devastating and costly long-term effects on your life. For this reason, you should consider seeing a physician who is experienced in treating common car accident injuries and is familiar with personal injury laws.  No-fault doctors in our directory include specialists like orthopedists, neurologists, pain management, physical therapists, chiropractors, and more. To search for and make an appointment with an experienced doctor near you, call us at (888) 970-5065. Restore your health and get back to living your life!