Question:I was in a car accident two weeks ago and was diagnosed with a whiplash injury. What is the best thing to do for it?
Answer:It is common to avoid activity for fear of increased pain or injury. However, people who remain active despite pain following their injury fare better than those who rest too much, or avoid activity.
Physical therapy should include strengthening and endurance exercise for the neck and upper back. These are more helpful than stretching. Benefit will be only temporary if not done regularly. Manipulation by a physical therapist or chiropractor may also have benefit when combined with strengthening exercises. Body mechanics training at home, work, and during recreation is shown to be beneficial also.
In most cases you should avoid bracing or collars. The most useful drugs are anti-inflammatories, opiods (narcotics), and muscle spasm medication for up to 14 days after the accident.Jerome Schofferman, MD et al. Chronic Whiplash and Whiplash-Associated Disorders: An Evidence-Based Approach. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2007. Volume 15. Pp. 596-606.
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