What are car accident whiplash treatment options after a neck injury in a collision?
Whenever possible, doctors prefer to use treatments other than surgery. The first goal of these nonsurgical treatments is to ease your pain and other symptoms.
Your health care providers will work with you to improve your neck movement and strength. They will also encourage healthy body alignment and posture. These steps are designed to enable you to get back to your normal activities. Conservative care may include:
• Physical therapy
• Chiropractic care
At first, your doctor may prescribe immobilization of the neck. Keeping the neck still for a short time can calm inflammation and pain. This might include one to two days of bed rest and the use of a soft cervical (neck) collar.
The collar is a padded ring that wraps around the neck and is held in place by a Velcro strap. A soft cervical collar may be used for the first 24 to 48 hours to help provide support and reduce pain. There is usually no need for a hard or rigid cervical collar unless the neck is fractured.
Soft collars should not be worn after 48 hours without a physician’s approval. Studies show that prolonged immobilization can delay healing and promote disability. Wearing it longer tends to weaken the neck muscles and reduces the facet joints’ sense of position called proprioception.
A cervical support pillow may offer some additional support while sleeping and helps to keep the neck in a more neutral position.
Your doctor may prescribe certain types of medication if the nerves are irritated or compressed and you have whiplash neck pain that travels down your arm (radiculopathy). Severe symptoms may be treated with narcotic drugs, such as codeine or morphine. But these drugs should only be used for the first few days or weeks after problems with radiculopathy start because they are addictive when used too much or improperly. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed to calm neck muscles that are in spasm. You may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Pain resulting from irritation of the facet joints may be alleviated with injection of an anesthetic agent similar to Novacaine such as Bipuvacaine. This numbing agent both confirms the source of pain as coming from the joint and helps reduce or eliminate the pain.
At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our attorneys do not advise on treatment or recommend specific health care providers. If asked, we can provide the names of doctors or clinics who will treat patients with no insurance or only Medicaid or Medicare.