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What are the Different Types of Whiplash Treatment?

By Alex Paul
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many different types of whiplash treatment depending on whether the injury is acute or chronic. In most cases, keeping the neck mobile, instead of using an immobilization brace, helps to reduce healing times. During the healing process the patient may be prescribed painkilling medication to make the condition more manageable. Physiotherapy is sometimes required if the condition doesn’t heal naturally within a few weeks. Treatment often focuses on getting the person back to everyday activity as quickly as possible.

One of the most important aspects of acute whiplash treatment is keeping the neck mobile after the initial few days. Moving the neck can be very painful, especially during the early stages of the injury; a person suffering from the condition should seek advice from a healthcare professional as to how much movement is required. In general, however, whiplash is self limiting, which means that although movement may cause pain, it won’t make the condition worse. Most experts agree that keeping the neck from becoming too stiff will decrease recovery time.

Acute whiplash treatment often focuses on reducing pain to a manageable level. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are very effective for this purpose, along with painkillers such as paracetamol. Depending on the severity of the pain, a doctor may prescribe stronger medication. Codeine, for example, can be taken with paracetamol and is effective at reducing pain. Many people find that icing the injured area can also help address pain and swelling especially during the first 24 hours after the injury.

Physiotherapy as a whiplash treatment is usually only required if symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. Physiotherapy typically involves mobilizing the neck. The therapist may massage the injured area to increase blood flow and relax the muscles. Along with direct treatment, a physiotherapist usually creates an exercise program for the patient to help speed up recovery. The program must be followed consistently over the course of a few weeks for it to have an effect.

There are a number of other types of whiplash treatment. During the first 72 hours, the neck may be placed in an immobilization brace, although it usually shouldn’t be worn for longer than the three days. Someone suffering from whiplash is often advised to return to everyday activity as soon as possible because this will assist in preventing the neck from becoming too stiff. The patient should avoid excessively straining the neck, however, and increase activity slowly.

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