How do you treat a neck injury?

So the inevitable has happened and you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident where you’ve suffered a whiplash injury – what do you do next?

Well, there are a few things you need to know about what your body’s going through after you’ve suffered a whiplash injury, in order to understand just what exactly you need to do to speed your recovery time. You need to act promptly, because the first 24 hours after your injury are when your body begins to marshal its forces to repair itself, so acting early can help you feel better more swiftly and minimise the pain and discomfort following such an injury.

Speak to you doctor

First off, make sure you check with your GP before undergoing any treatments described here. Go down to the surgery and listen to what he or she recommends you do, as the opinion of a trained medical professional should always be followed – and besides, if you’re going to be making an accident claim for whiplash, you’ll need to provide evidence that you went to the doctor in the first place!

Most doctors are likely to tell you to immediately ice your neck and shoulders to control the swelling that occurs after a neck injury within the first 12 to 24 hours. Your body is working hard to protect your body from further damage by flooding the injured area with all sorts of things, but the inflammation this causes can also lead to more inadvertent cellular damage, so keeping the area cool and iced will lessen this damage, cause the swelling to abate more quickly, and contribute to a quicker recovery overall.

Dealing with your symptoms

After the initial 24 hours or so following the injury, you need to stop icing the injured area. This may be hard, considering that this is when the pain usually gets much worse, but what your body needs in order to soothe this pain is warm, moist heat; you can use a towel soaked in warm water to relax those bruised, painful muscles and soft tissues in your neck and give you some relief from that pain – especially as it can be quite debilitating if you’ve got a serious whiplash injury.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for speeding your recovery at this point, as there’s little you can do to speed up your soft tissue healing properly without things like physiotherapy – which hurts quite a bit – or using a specialised piece of equipment such as a TENS unit – which costs quite a bit. Good news is that that warm, wet towel can keep the aches and pains down in between physiotherapy sessions, and if  you were quick about it with icing your neck initially, your overall pain will most likely be less than it would have been if you neglected to do so.

Whiplash injuries can be extraordinarily painful, but you don’t need to suffer in silence and without any sort of hope for relief. As long as you’re not going against the recommendations of your GP, you can use the tips here to speed your recovery and get you back on your feet so you can get on with your life.

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