Whiplash: What To Do And What Not To Do If You Think That You have Whiplash

Whiplash: What To Do And What Not To Do If You Think That You have Whiplash

Although most people are familiar with the term ‘whiplash’ either because we have experienced it or we know someone who has had it. But there are some myths that exist about whiplash and what the best treatments are, so if you suspect that you have whiplash, it is important that you treat it properly and ensure that you alleviate the condition.


First of all it is vital that you seek an appropriate medical diagnosis. This is not because whiplash is life threatening or because serious damage will be done if you do not seek help. Establishing that you do indeed have whiplash can ensure that any other more serious conditions, such as having a fracture etc can be ruled out. So ensure that you do have whiplash and not something more serious!

A diagnosis is usually made by a doctor or pain specialist. The difficulty with diagnosing whiplash is that it does not really show up on an X-ray, CT scan or an MRI scan. The diagnosis is usually made by asking the patient how they feel and then proceeding from there. People usually have pain in the back of their neck and they find that the pain is worse when they move. Pain can also transfer to the head, shoulders, shoulder blades or even the arms. Headaches can also develop which are felt initially at the back of the head, but are then felt all over.

There can be some other symptoms such as feeling dizzy and unable to stand properly, pins and needles etc. (These should be immediately checked out).

When you go for a diagnosis, you will be asked how you feel  and from there the GP or specialist will be able to establish if you are suffering from whiplash.

Sometimes patients are told that an X-Ray or MRI scan may be useful. These do not detect whiplash, but will establish if there is anything fractured, so they offer a good insight as to whether or not you have whiplash or something more serious!

The pain that is being experienced my originate from the cervical facet joints, which are shown to be responsible for causing whiplash pain in around 50% of patients. Again, to determine if this is indeed whiplash a nerve block may be undertaken to stop these nerves from transmitting pain signals and to establish that they are the root cause of the problem…

Whiplash and Rest

Rest is only advisable for a day or two after the accident or injury has taken place. People who strive to undertake normal day to day activities will usually get better quicker than those who simply rest. It may be hard and it may be painful, but gentle activity will help in the long term! So do not simply think that you should rest and do nothing!

Whiplash and Physiotherapy

Although perhaps unpopular, physiotherapy will help patients to heal much quicker and ensure that they do not suffer for longer than they have to. Physiotherapy will help to monitor pain levels and ensure that the condition is treated appropriately.

Medical Intervention

Although whiplash can simply ‘disappear’ of its own volition, it needs to be properly checked out and appropriate treatments undertaken to ensure that it will disappear and not linger, you also need to ascertain if there has been any other ‘hidden’ injuries sustained, which is why a medical diagnosis is so important !



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