Whiplash injuries are common and can range from mild to severe. They are caused by rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like in a car accident or a fall from a height. While you can treat minor whiplash at home, more serious cases should be evaluated by a doctor.
Understanding Whiplash Injuries:
• Mechanism of Injury: Whiplash injuries occur when the head is thrown backward and then forward quickly, causing the soft tissues of the neck to be stretched and damaged. This can happen in a variety of ways, including a car accident (the vast majority of the injuries encountered in the ER), a physical altercation, or a fall from a height.
• Typical Symptoms: Symptoms of whiplash can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and headache.
• Caring for Whiplash at Home: Mild cases of whiplash can be treated at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Additionally, gentle stretching, heat therapy, and massage can help relieve pain and stiffness.
• When to See a Doctor: If you experience severe neck pain when still, persistent difficulty moving your head or neck, numbness in your arms or hands, severe headaches, vision changes, imbalance, vomiting, or if pain does not subside after a few days, you should seek medical attention. It is also important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms after direct trauma or significant fall.