Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. However, people who experience whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury.
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Low back pain
- Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
- Ringing in the ears or blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue
- Whiplash sufferers can use these 3 simple steps to ease their pain.
1. Ice/chill: The initial step to be taken is the use of ice; cool down the neck injury area. You will need to do this because the muscles will start swelling. 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.
2. Heat: is the second step going to be after the first 12 – 24 hours, when the swelling has decreased, then begin warm moist heat for the pain. 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.
3. Get a Massage: The ultimate goal is for whiplash sufferers to return to a pain-free state and get moving normally again so they can resume a fully active life. Massage can greatly decrease the healing time and improve the outcome for the whiplash patient. By overcoming pain, headaches, and ROM (range of motion) limitations before neuromuscular patterns become normal, balance can be restored to the structures involved, resulting in the best outcome for the whiplash patient. If a patient has a whiplash injury that has not been treated for a year or more, massage and bodywork can still help. Healing usually just takes longer, as healthy neuromuscular habits must be re-established in order to restore normal function.
Massage in conjunction with other treatments (for example, physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic work), pain reliever medications heat and ice packs will likely render the best results for someone with whiplash.