Whiplash commonly presents as pain in the neck/shoulder which can also be followed by headaches. They are caused as a result of sudden acceleration and deceleration movements and are most commonly seen following a car accident but this is not always the case.
In the acute stage- the first 48 hours- there are a few simple things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable.
- Rest and painkillers. Your pharmacist can advise on painkillers. Initially, regular use of paracetamol, unless you know your system does not tolerate this drug. In this case, or if this proves inadequate, discuss the situation with your pharmacist or GP.
- Aim to return to your normal activities as soon as possible within pain tolerance. It has been shown that if you can get gently active within 4 days of the accident you will have a better outcome at 6 months than those who take to their bed.
- Trial using a hot or cold pack to assist in pain relief and see which suits you best.
- Holding a positive attitude and belief will speed up the healing process and help you build back to your usual activity levels. A minority of people involved in car accidents develop post-traumatic stress disorder which requires professional psychological support to aid recuperation.
Following the acute onset of pain, physiotherapy is a great option to help improve your symptoms as quickly as possible and we can help guide you back to your previous levels of activity. This can be through hands on treatment, from our physio’s or manual therapists, to help manage your pain, as well as working on your range of movement and function of the neck and upper limbs.