Anyone who has dealt with whiplash knows it can be excruciating. As you consider how to treat it, you may wonder whether a pain specialist can help. The short answer is that yes, a pain management specialist can help treat your whiplash. That being said, there is more to know about whiplash and what to expect from treatment.
As a refresher, whiplash occurs when your head moves suddenly back and forth. This motion is similar to whip cracking. It is a type of injury to the neck.
Whiplash symptoms typically appear within several days of the injury. The most common symptoms of whiplash include:
While the above symptoms are common, there are also less common symptoms of whiplash. These include:
There is then another group of symptoms to look out for. The following symptoms indicate that something may be seriously wrong.
If you notice any of the third group of symptoms, you need emergency treatment. You may have nerve damage in addition to the pain.
The motion of your head moving rapidly causes whiplash. This means that any situation that creates that type of movement can potentially lead to whiplash.
The most common causes of whiplash are car accidents and slip and falls. It can also happen from physical abuse or sports accidents. For example, whiplash is a common injury from the shaken baby syndrome. It can also occur if an adult is shaken or punched. In terms of sports accidents, whiplash is more common in contact sports, such as those with tackling.
In most cases, whiplash pain after an auto accident will eventually go away on its own. However, this can take up to two or three months to happen. During that time, you would likely need to take over-the-counter painkillers or maybe even something more potent.
More importantly, the pain does not always disappear on its own. Additionally, it will take longer for the pain to disappear if you do not treat it.
Some people need chronic whiplash pain treatment, as the pain does not disappear with normal treatment.
Essentially, getting whiplash injury treatment is the best way to minimize how long you have to deal with the pain. It is also the best way to reduce the risk of long-term pain.
Experts still can’t accurately predict how likely you are to have chronic pain from whiplash. You might be more likely to need to see a pain management specialist for chronic pain if the initial symptoms are intense and begin quickly. Those symptoms would include a limited range of motion, severe neck pain, and pain in the arms.
You may also have a higher risk of requiring chronic whiplash pain treatment if you:
A New York pain specialist will typically be just one member of your treatment team for whiplash. They also regularly work with physiotherapists and psychologists. Your specialist will plan your whiplash pain treatment based on your symptoms and medical history.
Expect your treatment for whiplash to include a range of treatment methods. The following are common elements that your pain specialist is likely to suggest.
Most whiplash pain treatment includes gentle exercises. They will likely suggest gentle movements starting a day or two after the injury. Expect to gently move your neck in various directions.
In the first days after the injury, applying ice can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. After a few days, you can switch between ice and heat. The heat will soothe tight muscles and reduce pain.
Your pain specialist may suggest over-the-counter pain medicines if you have not tried them yet. If they are not enough, they may prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxants.
Physical therapy will help you strengthen your neck muscles and restore movement.
If you were injured in a car accident and are suffering from whiplash pain, book your appointment today to find an experienced pain management specialist near you in New York and New Jersey. Doctors in our directory accept no-fault insurance, PIP (Personal Injury Protection), worker’s compensation, and major medical plans. Same-day appointments may be available. Call 1-800-897-8440 now and get on your way to pain-free living!
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