Whiplash can vary in its severity and in some cases minimal treatment is necessary, as the injury will heal itself over time. Whiplash that only last for a short period of time is referred to as acute whiplash. In other cases, however the injury can be very severe requiring whiplash treatment and can last as long as 6 months or more. This kind of long-term condition is known as chronic whiplash or late whiplash syndrome. The kind of whiplash treatment necessary depends on whether the condition is acute or chronic.
Studies that have been carried out to look for effective acute whiplash treatments are generally considered to be of a poor quality and therefore provide unreliable results. However, it is generally agreed amongst medical professionals agree that keeping the neck mobilised through exercises is much more beneficial than resting the neck and preventing movement with neck braces or collars. Keeping your neck mobile in this way is though to make the recovery process faster and the pain that may be experienced through movement will not be causing any further damage. If the pain is particularly intense then painkillers such as paracetamol are an effective whiplash treatment and should be taken regularly not only when the pain is present. If this does not prove effective then your doctor can prescribe a stronger painkiller such as codeine, which you will probably be advised to take in conjunction with paracetemol for optimal results. When taking painkillers always follow the guidelines and instructions provided by your doctor or health care provider very carefully. Also be sure to inform them if you are using any other medications or have any other health conditions, as there could be a risk of interference. Physiotherapy is another whiplash treatment, which may be recommended if symptoms are still present more than two weeks following the injury. This involves massage and manipulation in an attempt to restore full movement and reduce pain and stiffness. There are also exercises that can be done from home, which often increases the speed of recovery.
Whiplash that is still present after 6 months is called chronic whiplash and similarly to the acute form of the condition, one of the key factors of chronic whiplash treatment is mobility. It is advised that you try as much as possible to continue with normal daily activities. Painkillers will often be needed, although the kind depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms. For some people simply taking paracetamol or ibuprofen when it is needed is adequate pain relief but for others it may need to be taken regularly. If the pain is severe or last for prolonged periods of time, then something stronger such as codeine may be prescribed. Once again, always closely follow the instructions provided by your doctor when taking any kind of medication.
Depression and anxiety can occur as a result of chronic whiplash. If the injury happened through a car accident, the though of driving or travelling in a car again can become unnerving. Additionally it may be a stressful time dealing with insurance companies and doing paperwork. Depression is common if sufferers start to have negative feeling about treatment not working so it is not uncommon for patients to be referred to a psychologist for counselling. There are other whiplash treatments that can be done form home through self-care. For example retaining a good posture, using a supportive pillow and performing controlled exercises and stretches can all help to improve recovery time.