How To Treat Whiplash, Neck Pain In 3 Easy Steps
Many people experience some form of neck injury and its very painful. Often the injury, if it involves a car crash from behind, is referred to as whiplash. This type injury usually involves a sudden jolt of movement forward and the muscles immediately become inflamed and swell, guarding starts as part of the inflammatory process. The first 12 to 24 hours are generally not as severely painful as the time period following the acute onset. It is after the initial trauma the pain can become unbearable. During the first acute episode, following the trauma, its best to ice, cool the neck area because the body has responded to the trauma and initiated a series of chemical reactions to stop the harmful effects. The problem is inflammation, swelling, which began with the influx of new chemical reactions. Because the excess fluid is captured in the tissue area there is an expansion of cells and eventually a rupture in the cell walls themselves which will later require repair to gain full function. After the swelling has stopped then warm moist heat is a very good option to begin dealing with the inevitable pain that follows. Here are some practical remedies in 3 simple steps...
Step 1 - Ice Down/ Chill
The initial step to be taken is ice, cool down the neck injury area. You will need to do this because the muscles will start swelling and there will be a build up of cellular fluids resulting in cell/tissue destruction. Some of the destruction will be the result of the traumatic injury but there will also be additional damage due to the inflammatory response of the immune system. You will need to carefully avoid treating with heat during the acute phase, as the heat will increase blood flow and increase the swelling and tissue damage..
You will need to do the chill initial step promptly. If you do it promptly, then the swelling will subside and there will be less damage and less pain.
Step 2 - Apply Warm Moist Heat
Your second step is going to be after the first 12 - 24 hours, when the swelling has subsided, then begin warm moist heat for the pain. If you dont have a moist heat pad then simply use warm water on a towel and apply to the neck area. If possible in order to extend the heat of the towel you can put a piece of reflective aluminum foil over the top to contain the heat and not allow it to evaporate. Things you'll want to avoid here are be careful of using pain medications that may leave you sleepy or groggy. To heal its not necessary to basically "drug oneself" out of awareness. You should stay away from driving a car or getting in any situation where a quick movement, or the need for a quick movement reaction, can harm you. Many chronic injuries are merely acute injuries recurring over and over.
Step 3 - Use Electrotherapy, preferably Interferential therapy, with moist heat if possible.
The 3rd step is if possible use a portable interferential pain machine in conjunction with the moist heat packs or if interferential is not available then use a standard TENS unit. This will be significant because moist heat provides carryover pain relief until the area treated loses the heat. After the thermal heat effects are lost, the pain often returns. The interferential treatment is known as the therapy of choice for extending the residual or carryover pain relief time period, however TENS, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulators, can be worn continuously minimizing pain. This is important because if the carryover period is extended the muscles can be rehabilitated sooner, the pain upon stretching and doing the rehab. is minimized, and full range of motion is restored.
The exact steps outlined above should help the whiplash patient experience less pain, gain mobility quicker, and tissue repair conclude sooner. Just stick to the steps in order, for the reasons as explained, while carefully avoiding the traps, problems and potential mistakes mentioned. Then pat yourself on the back and enjoy the benefits and rewards of having lost the pain, restored the function and lessened the rehabilitation time.