Whiplash Treatment

Whiplash is the common term given to injury or damage to the soft tissue surrounding the neck and shoulders. It is usually associated with rear impact collisions. Whiplash is characterised by the onset of a stiff and painful neck, reduced mobility and dizziness. These problems can last for weeks or even months; therefore if you have suffered whiplash, you need to know how to treat your injury or it could have a debilitating impact upon your life. So if you have suffered a whiplash injury in a vehicle collision or though other means, how is your injury likely to be treated?

Seek Medical Attention

The first thing to do if you are worried that you have a whiplash injury is to confirm that it is only whiplash and nothing more serious. Contact a GP or Accident and Emergency department for a diagnosis. Although the injuries are often minor, it is essential to ensure that no greater damage has been caused to this delicate area of the body. It is also essential to consult with a medical professional at the initial stages, particularly if you intend to pursue a claim for the injury. They will be able to provide you with a full medical report of your condition. A doctor will diagnose whiplash through the use of a detailed examination of the affected area, taking into account the cause of the injury. X-rays and CT scans may be taken to ensure that there is no fracture or dislocation of the cervical spine.

Find out more about the symptoms of whiplash.

Treatment to Avoid

Some clinicians opt to use a soft collar to restrict movement of the neck in the belief that it is better to allow the muscles to rest and repair themselves. Despite this, many patients remain in constant pain and can go to develop further complications such as degeneration of the spinal points.

Dr. Saravana Kumar of the UniSA believes that the use of soft collars does more long-term harm than good. He says that: “the use of soft collars for treatment of whiplash was originally developed when it was believed that whiplash could be managed like a broken bone that is immobilising the spine. However, new research evidence has disproved this theory but the use of soft collar in clinical practice continues to persist. Evidence shows that wearing soft collars is actually harmful and it is staying active which promotes recovery in whiplash.”

What Treatment Is Available For Whiplash?

Whiplash is often defined as a ‘self-limiting’ condition, meaning that it can get better with minimal treatment. Those suffering from whiplash will be told to keep their neck active. You should perform gentle exercises to help improve mobility and regain your normal range of movement. You may find this hurts, so this careful movement may need to be coupled with something to ease the pain.

  1. Ice
    Applying an ice pack to the affected area will help to reduce the initial swelling. As the tissue swells, it releases chemicals that irritate the nerve endings. It is this irritation which causes the longer lasting pain associated with whiplash.
  2. 'Over-the-counter' or prescription drugs
    Pain can be combated by the use of paracetamol and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As with all medication, a doctor should be consulted before taking any painkillers to avoid potential problems.
  3. Physiotherapy, chiropractory or acupuncture
    Unfortunately, for a small number of people, whiplash 'syndrome' can persist for weeks or even months before subsiding, and even then there can be residual, long-term neck discomfort. In cases like this, various alternative treatments can be incorporated into an holistic treatment of the condition. This can include physiotherapy, chiropractory and even acupuncture.

What About Private Treatment?

Treatments such as physiotherapy are available, in certain cases, on the NHS. However, if you are planning to pursue legal action as the result of a whiplash injury, your legal advisor may be able to incorporate longer term private treatment into your claim, cutting down waiting time to see NHS provided services. They may also employ the services of an independent medical advisor, who may suggest further treatment to alleviate the injury. Again, this would be incorporated into your claim and you would be compensated according to the severity of your injury.

Contact 1stClaims

1stClaims solicitors are specialist whiplash claim solicitors and will arrange private treatment for you as part of the claims process. If you would like 1stClaims' expert Whiplash Claim Solicitors on your side please call us free on 0800 2888 693 or complete our Free Claim Enquiry form now and we will be in touch with you very soon.

Remember, it costs absolutely nothing to ask and you are under no obligation to make a claim.

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