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Do I Really Need to See a Doctor for Whiplash?

Sudden injuries, such as those sustained in a car accident, can be incredibly painful. Often, these injuries can be easily treated and prevented from causing lasting harm. Whiplash is a common injury that is sustained in car accidents, and it occurs when the soft tissue of your neck or back are damaged by a sudden change in direction. Whiplash can cause serious issues if left untreated, which is why you should seek medical treatment for these injuries.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash affects the soft tissue of the neck or back, including tendons, ligaments, and muscles. These injuries can vary in severity and has a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Stiffness in the neck or back
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest, head, shoulders, and arms
  • Cervicogenic or neck-related headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Decreased range of motion

There are more serious symptoms of whiplash, which can be indicative of a severe injury. Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Severe or debilitating neck pain
  • Memory loss or loss of consciousness
  • Nausea, confusion, dizziness, or fatigue

Whiplash can also be accompanied by other injuries, such as herniated discs, concussions, pinched nerves. These can require additional medical treatment to ensure you heal properly.

Treating Whiplash

Often, minor cases of whiplash can be treated at home and will fade quickly. More serious cases may require more intense treatment, but it may take time for symptoms to appear. If you suspect you have whiplash, you should see your doctor to confirm the seriousness of your injuries and get treatment directions.

Treatments for whiplash may include:

  • Ice packs
  • Over-the-counter painkillers
  • Neck brace or collar
  • Moist heat therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Rehabilitation

Recovery from whiplash can take a few days to several months, so it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment. Once the acute pain has been treated, it is likely that your physician will refer you for rehabilitation to begin strengthening the muscles in your neck and back. Stronger, more limber muscles will improve your recovery and reduce the risk of another serious neck injury in the future.

Have you been in a car accident? At QualCare Rehabilitation, our cutting-edge rehabilitation treatments can help you recover from your injuries. Contact our Houston car accident injury clinic to learn more.