When your head and neck suddenly and forcefully move back and forth, your neck extends beyond its normal range of motion, overstretching the ligaments, muscles, and tendons, resulting in whiplash.
Whiplash is a common auto accident injury. Even minor fender benders can cause whiplash. You can recover from whiplash, but it takes time.
At East Side Primary Medical Care on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, our experienced and compassionate primary care physician Dr. Daniel Klein specializes in treating personal injuries, including auto and work injuries that cause whiplash.
Here, we want to explain how you can manage your whiplash symptoms during your recovery.
Whiplash symptoms: What to expect
Whiplash symptoms aren’t always what you expect. You may have symptoms right away or they may not appear until days after your initial injury. In either case, the severity of your symptoms depends on how far your neck was overextended.
Symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Neck pain and/or stiffness
- Pain that radiates into the head, arms, or back
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
Because the symptoms and how soon they occur can vary, whiplash may look like other health conditions. If you were in a car accident or fell hard at work, you need a medical evaluation right away, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Getting the right diagnosis from the start may prevent long-term complications.
Managing whiplash symptoms
How we manage whiplash symptoms depends on the severity of your injury. For a mild injury, we recommend cold and heat therapy, over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, and rest.
For more serious injuries, we may recommend a neck collar to immobilize the spine and prevent further damage immediately following the injury. A neck collar also provides additional support for the head, decreasing weight on the damaged tissue. We may also prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants.
When we’re certain you don’t have serious damage to the spine, we get you out of the neck collar and start gentle stretching exercises to restore strength and mobility. We may also refer you to physical therapy for a personalized whiplash exercise program.
Recovery time from whiplash
Recovery time following whiplash varies, so you may feel better within a few days or a few weeks. However, if your injury is severe, it may take several weeks or months for you to recover. Some people may also develop chronic neck pain and headaches following their injury.
No matter the cause or severity of your whiplash injury, we can provide the ongoing medical care necessary to help you manage your symptoms. Call our office today at 680-206-2794 or book an appointment online.