When it comes to minor and major car accidents, the most common injury is whiplash. It is another name for neck strain, caused by the sudden jerk of a vehicle upon impact with another. This sudden force upon the neck and head can lead to stretches, tears, and injuries to the muscles and tendons along your neck. However, whiplash symptoms do not always appear right way, typically taking hours or days before they are evident.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain in neck and upper back
- Tightness or tenderness of the neck
- Decreased range of motion
The recovery time is based on the severity of the injury. While minor whiplash often heals within several days or weeks, more severe cases take much longer—perhaps months or years. Chronic neck pain happens when a whiplash injury is never able to heal completely. Fortunately, in most cases, your neck muscles and tendons will heal with proper medical attention, an adequate treatment plan, and an ample amount of recovery time.
Common treatments can include the following:
- Icing the neck to help reduce pain and swelling
- If recommended by your doctor, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help with the pain and swelling
- If you require additional support, a neck brace or collar may help your neck heal without straining it too much
- Other treatments like physical therapy, messages, and moist heat.