Whiplash is the pain associated with an injury to the neck caused by an impact or blow jerking the head backward and forward quickly. This kind of injury is typically associated with car accidents and athletes who play contact sports like football. Whiplash is a neck strain, causing overstretching and tearing of the muscles and tendons in the neck. Those with whiplash will report pain, reduced range of motion, tightness of the muscles in and around the neck and headaches.
If a person suffers an injury resulting in pain and symptoms associated with whiplash, he or she should see a doctor for assessment and diagnoses. In the first two to three days following the injury, ice should be applied for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours. Painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken. Discuss what to take with your doctor, and if over the counter medicines like Ibuprofen or Aleve do not help, the doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medicine or a muscle relaxer. The doctor may also suggest a neck brace or collar for additional support. After the first few days, heat can be applied, but only after the initial swelling has decreased.
It is unlikely that surgery will be necessary to address whiplash. Most cases take time and treatment for inflammation and pain while the muscles and tendons in the neck recover. However, in rare circumstances, surgery might be necessary. The main kinds of surgery associated with whiplash include: