Whiplash Neck Sprain Or Strain

A Whiplash Neck  Sprain  or a Whiplash Neck Strain is the term used when the ligaments, muscles and/or tendons in your neck have been injured. As you are probably aware, your neck is made up of 7 bones which are collectively known as the Cervical Vertebrae. These neck bones are connected to each other by ligaments, muscles & tendons. When the neck is moved in an extreme way, as happens in road traffic accidents then these ligaments, muscles and tendons become over-stretched or can even tear.

What are the symptoms of a Whiplash Neck  Sprain .

If you have suffered a Whiplash Neck  Sprain  then there is usually pain and a tenderness to the neck area, especially around the muscles, tendons and ligaments that have been injured. The affected area may also get tighter (so limiting neck movement), this occurs in order to protect the injured area.

Some of the more serious symptoms suffered after a whiplash neck injury are:

· A constant pain that either keeps you awake at night or constantly wakes them up from their slumbers.

· A pain that gets worse if you cough or sneeze.

· A pain or numbness that travels down either of your arms.

· A weakness in your arms.

· Also look out for changes in your bowels or bladder performance.

· Also look out for a pain that is similar to when someone has got a fever.

If you think you are suffering from any of the above neck pain symptoms then you need to consult with a doctor straight away.

How are Whiplash Neck  Sprains  diagnosed?

The first thing a doctor would do is look at your medical history and discuss with you what your symptoms are. After which you will probably be given a physical examination, and X-rays may be taken of your neck area.

Then depending on the severity of your whiplash neck injuries you may go for further tests including MRI scans and / or CT scans.

How to go about treating a Whiplash Neck  Sprain .

The good news is that in the majority of cases the damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments will start to repair themselves.

There are treatments that can aid or help speed up recovery and these include:

· Exercise: Initially the pain may be so bad that you will need to rest it for a day or two but after that you should try to gently exercise the neck by moving it in as near normal way as you can. Try to avoid you neck stiffening up and as the pain starts to subside try increasing the range of your neck movements.

· Painkillers: are often very helpful and may be recommended by your doctor. These may include:

*Paracetamol at full strength is often sufficient. For an adult this is two 500 mg tablets, 4 times a day.

*Anti-inflammatory painkillers. These may be used alone or at the same time as paracetamol. They include ibuprofen which you can buy at pharmacies or get on prescription. Other types may need a prescription. Some people with stomach ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure, kidney or heart failure may not be able to take anti- inflammatory painkillers.

*A stronger painkiller such as codeine is an option if anti-inflammatory tablets do not suit or do not work well. Codeine is often taken in addition to paracetamol.

*A muscle relaxant such as diazepam is occasionally prescribed for a few days if your neck muscles become very tense and make the pain worse.

· Other Treatments may include:

*Physiotherapy: a number of treatments may be undertaken by a physiotherapist if the pain is not settling. These include: manipulation of the neck, traction, applying heat etc. However, what you will probably find the most helpful is their advice on what exercises you should do at home. You may find that after going to the doctor and being subscribed painkillers advised to do gentle neck exercises. That if your symptoms persist after a week or so, then you may then be referred to a physiotherapist to help with pain relief and for advice on specific neck exercises.

*Good Posture: a good sitting posture at home or at work may help. Don’t sit at your desk with your head bent forwards and with a stooped back. Sit upright. You may want to consider Yoga, Pilates or the Alexander technique to improve your neck posture though their effectiveness at treating neck pain is uncertain.

*A firm supporting pillow: can help some people.

After recovering from a Whiplash Neck  Sprain .

After you have recovered from a whiplash neck  sprain , it is very important to maintain a proper posture and to further exercise your neck muscles. This will help strengthen your neck and so reduce the chance of further neck strains in the future.