Whiplash is caused by an abrupt backward and forward jerking motion of the head, often as a result of a car accident. Also called neck sprain or neck strain is an injury to the neck. Whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. In whiplash, the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged.
•Numbness or tingling
•Shoulder pain and stiffness
•Decreased range of neck motion
•Pain, numbness, or tingling extending down an arm
Cold packs or ice can be applied to the neck to minimize swelling and pain. Apply ice/cold to the neck area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every hour, as needed, for the first 48-72 hours after the injury.
•Limit motion of the head and neck until pain and muscle tightness is gone.
•Limit strenuous activities such as sports or heavy lifting.
•Chiropractic with a range of motion exercises, muscle strengthening, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation may be prescribed.
•Traditional medical treatments such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and pain relievers may help with short-term relief, but won't provide a long-term fix.
•Always using seatbelts and drive motor vehicles with airbags.
•Proper adjustment of the car seat headrest can also help keep the neck from snapping backward.
•Always use the proper safety equipment when participating in sports.
•Follow amusement park or carnival safety instructions on high-velocity rides, such as roller coasters.
•Report suspected child abuse to authorities.
•Monitor children's activities to prevent falls or serious injuries.