If you’ve ever experienced a twinge or pain in the neck, you’ll know how frustrating and disruptive this can be. Turning your head might seem impossible. A stiff, tender and painful neck, blasting headaches – these are all symptoms of whiplash.
For many the term ‘whiplash’ triggers graphic images of violent car accidents, but there are other ways to develop this spinal condition, such as riding a roller coaster or simply falling on a slippery surface.
Whiplash is usually caused by a sudden uncontrolled force that runs through the spine one vertebra at a time. The impact travels through you like a wave and then accumulates at the base of your head, violently thrusting it forward or backward – similar to the movement of a whip, hence the name.
Post-whiplash, the soft tissue, which usually keeps your head upright, is easily overstretched and damaged. This can be SUPER painful! It feels like your neck just can’t support the weight of your head anymore.
In a recent study, 65% percent of those suffering from whiplash symptoms reported pain and a decrease in quality of life 5 years later.
The symptoms of whiplash shouldn’t last more than six weeks. BUT we can’t stress enough how important it is to correct any spinal misalignment or subluxation. While the pain may subside with time, your body never fully forgets trauma, and if those cervical vertebrae aren’t readjusted to their natural position, you can be sure that whiplash symptoms will come back to haunt you.
Many people with neck pain don’t realise the significance of their injury until much later.
If you visit your local chiropractor later in life for newly developed pain, you can be sure they’ll spot that initial whiplash injury, even when you’d forgotten all about it. Whiplash, like many spinal injuries, can be detected later in life if left untreated.
You’re body, like your mind, never fully forgets trauma
At Spinal Care Clinics in Brentwood we aim to ensure you can lead a pain-free life and we do this with a completely holistic approach to your health. This means we are also very keen to encourage and educate our local community in health and wellness. Those whiplash statistics are scary and in no way normal! Whiplash is a spinal injury you should be able to overcome fairly quickly with the right type of care.
If you’re suffering from whiplash or general neck pain, check out the following 5 tips to help you recover.
1. Rest & ice
You might be tempted to soldier through the pain but those neck muscles will initially be sore and probably inflamed.
This is the moment you want to really look after yourself by applying a big bag of frozen peas or an ice pack on your neck and taking it easy.
2. Visit your local chiropractor
They will take a close look at your spine, Xray it to see the extent of the damage and then guide you from A to Z.
At this point your back is in safe hands and your injury is just a minor set-back.
3. Stay mobile
Until recently it was recommended you stay completely static with a neck brace. However, it’s now been proved that performing gentle neck exercises aimed at supporting your head is ESSENTIAL. This will help you recover faster, as it will prevent you from losing substantial muscle mass.
Water will become your element. Swimming is excellent for this type of injury. Your body is so naturally buoyant that you’ll instantly feel the weight off your shoulders.
4. Good posture is more important now than ever before
You will notice that your head feels heavier and you might hunch-over more when sitting because of it. If you work at a desk, be mindful of your posture and maybe even stick a post-it on your desktop labelled ‘Sit-up! :)’
Although deep tissue massage is a treatment often associated with sports injuries, medical studies have shown that massage therapy is highly effective for typical car accident injuries such as whiplash. SO, use this as the perfect excuse to ask a loved-one for a good head, neck and shoulder rub and do apply anti-inflammatory cream to soothe the pain.