Self-Care Whiplash Treatment

When you've been in a minor car accident and think you may have whiplash, it's important to be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible to avoid further injury. If you're too busy and aren't able to make it in to see a doctor right away, however, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease the discomfort. Less-severe whiplash injuries include pulled neck muscles and tendons, and may result in a stiff and painful neck.

Here are some whiplash self-care techniques you can try in a pinch:

1. Pain Medications 

If your neck hurts from whiplash, one way of making yourself more comfortable before seeking medical attention is with pain medications. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, also known as NSAIDS, can be used to reduce discomfort due to swelling and inflammation.

Another type of medication that can ease whiplash pain are muscle relaxers, which reduce spasms and tightness, but may require a prescription from a doctor. 

2. Cold Packs

Whiplash can cause muscles, ligaments and tendons to swell, creating a literal pain in the neck. Although you may first think of using heat to relieve the pain, ice is what brings the swelling down, encouraging the pulled body parts to relax. 

To try this at-home treatment, simply place a cold pack, a package of frozen vegetables or a freezer bag filled with ice on the painful area, applying gentle pressure. If the cold is too intense, you can place a small towel between the ice and your skin. 

Keep the ice on the injury for 15 to 20 minutes, and repeat every hour until the pain level subsides. It's best to do this technique during the first 24 to 48 hours of the injury, to reduce the amount of swelling. 

3. Apply Heat

Although you'll want to avoid applying heat to the neck during the first 24 hours of the injury as it can promote swelling, it may be source of pain relief after that time period. After treating your neck initially with ice, it's time to switch to heat.

You can use either an electric heating pad on the medium or high setting, or a microwavable heating pad, which is generally made of natural fibers such as rice. If you don't have either of these items on hand, you can simply wet a washcloth with warm water, wring it out, and apply it to the affected area. 

Treat the injury in 30-minute intervals as often as every 2 hours if needed to relieve pain. If you continue to suffer from neck pain, consider contacting a business, such as the Contino Chiropractic Center.