When you have injuries from an accident, it can be challenging to comprehend the damage done to your body. You may be sore in many areas for several days before you can tell which injuries are more serious.
Part of recovering from your accident is seeking medical treatment. If you have internal injuries or serious soft tissue damage, it is better to seek treatment sooner rather than later.
Here’s what you should know about whiplash and when it could indicate a severe injury.
Degrees of whiplash
Whiplash gets its name from the way the head and neck move during the accident. When the injury happens, the head and neck move abruptly, like a long whip. However, unlike a whip, you can have significant damage to the soft tissues in your head, neck and spine when they move quickly and unexpectedly.
Some whiplash is more of a wait-and-see injury. Rather than a specific treatment plan, minor whiplash is typically treated with rest and pain medication. If your prescribed treatment is not progressing, you should talk to your healthcare team about reassessing your injury.
Treatment for severe whiplash
Typically, if your accident happened at high speed and your symptoms are intense, you are more likely to have chronic pain from the accident. Your treatment for severe whiplash could include:
- Cervical traction
- Physical therapy
- Cervical collar (or neck brace)
In severe cases, these treatments can be ongoing for months or years to help you manage your pain and help the soft tissues in your neck heal. As with other chronic pain, you will need to have an ongoing relationship with your healthcare team. If you experience new or worsening symptoms, your doctor may discuss alternate diagnoses or treatments.