What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have recently been in a car accident, one of the many things you are thinking about is how to help whiplash.
Whiplash can come along with not only neck pain, but also dizziness, headache, paresthesia, nausea and lower back pain. In one study it was reported that 45% of those in car accidents that went to court were still suffering from symptoms of whiplash 2 years after the court case settled.
Before I move onto how to help whiplash, first I want to explain how whiplash occurs. Whiplash is an acceleration-deceleration of the head. This means that whiplash can occur in more than just a car accident. Football is another biggie. The worst whiplash comes from rear impact, but it can also occur in side and front impact as well.
Some of the factors that play into how bad the whiplash from a car accident will be are:
Head position- If a person’s head is turned to the side it places greater stress on the joint making the whiplash worse.
Headrest position- A headrest that is too low can make a person’s head snap over it in a car accident making the whiplash worse.
Stature: Someone who is shorter will have lesser problems with whiplash than someone taller.
Now how to help whiplash.
Use ice to help with the swelling.
Gentle stretching on the tight muscles to restore range of motion. Simply moving the neck through the range of motion will work. Do not pull at the early stages of whiplash.
Do aerobic exercise to encourage strengthening of weak neck muscles.
See a chiropractor, acupuncturist, osteopath or physiotherapist.
Come in for a massage!
Wait 48 hours after a car accident to get a massage.
When you do come in for your massage, our goals as massage therapists are to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, maintain circulation, prevent adhesion formation, treat trigger points and reduce spasms. Most whiplash cases resolve in 6-12 weeks. Getting a massage soon after the accident will shorten that time and prevent it from becoming a chronic problem.
If you get a doctor’s prescription for massage post accident, your insurance company will likely reimburse you for the massage.