How Is Whiplash Diagnosed
Healthcare providers can usually diagnose whiplash by examining your symptoms and asking you questions about your injury. CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging can show details of damaged soft tissues , though they may not always be required. Your healthcare provider may diagnose a whiplash injury with a physical exam alone.
What Are The Symptoms Of Back And Neck Pain
Symptoms associated with back pain may include:
Dull, burning, or sharp pain in your back.; The pain can be confined to a single spot or cover a large area
Leg numbness or tingling above or below your knee
Stiffness or achiness that occurs anywhere along your spine
Sharp, shooting pain that radiates from your low back to your buttocks, down the back of; your thigh, and into your calf and toes
Consistent ache in the middle or lower part of your back, especially after standing or sitting for an extended period
Loss of bladder and bowel control, with weakness in both legs, are symptoms of a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms associated with neck pain can be:
Arm numbness or tingling
Sharp shooting pains or a dull aches in your neck
Pain that occurs suddenly in your back or neck, due to an injury, is considered to be acute pain. Acute pain comes on quickly and may leave sooner than chronic back or neck pain. This type of pain should not last more than 6 weeks.
Pain that may come on quickly or slowly and lingers for weeks, 3 months or greater, is considered to be chronic pain. Chronic pain is less common than acute pain.
Hot Cold And Electrotherapy
Heating pads, ice or cold packs, and electrotherapy are natural ways to get relief from neck and shoulder pain. A general rule of thumb suggests choosing different therapies based on how long youve been experiencing pain.
Use cold for recent neck or shoulder pain
During the first six weeks after a fresh injury, experts recommend applying ice to help reduce inflammation and pain. Ice packs, cold sprays, and/or cold gels are great options to relieve acute swelling.
Use heat for chronic aches and pains
Heat encourages blood flow and helps relax tight muscles. This type of therapy can be introduced six weeks after an injury, and also works best for lingering aches and pains. Make sure your heat therapy isnt too hot. Try:
- Heating pads
- Warm baths, whirlpools and saunas
- Warm baths with Epsom salts
Try electrotherapy for short and long-term neck and shoulder pain
TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a drug-free alternative to pain relief that works for both short- and long-term pain. TENS units use mild, pain-free electrical currents to disrupt pain signals.
Make sure you dont place the TENS unit pads too close to your head or sides of your neck and spine. Please follow the manufacturers directions for the best and safest pad placement.
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What Are The Most Common Nonsurgical Treatments For Neck Pain
If you are experiencing chronic pain , it is important to seek medical attention for further evaluation and treatment. Treatments for neck pain vary, depending on the cause and duration of the neck pain you are experiencing. Many neck pain patients find relief in using one or a combination of these therapies. The most common treatments include:
Medications: Both over-the-counter and prescription medications may help manage neck pain, reduce inflammation, and decrease muscle spasm and sleep disturbance. The first line of treatment when it comes to neck pain medication is typically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications , such as ibuprofen and naproxen, and acetaminophen . Some NSAIDS can be applied topically to the skin, such as Voltaren Gel and Aspercreme; other topical treatments include Icy-Hot, lidocaine based patches, and CBD creams/ointments.
Prescription medications such as muscle relaxers and nerve pain medications are sometimes considered, says Dr. Bonte. Muscle relaxants are used more often for acute pain rather than chronic pain.
For those with neuropathic neck pain, injections including a steroid and pain reliever may be effective, especially if done in conjunction with physical therapy. Ablation of the nerves near the neck joints may improve mobility and reduce pain, too.
Complementary therapies:Alternative treatments may be helpful in managing neck pain. Some of the more popular complementary therapies for treating neck pain include:
What Causes Back And Neck Pain
Even with today’s technology, the exact cause of back and neck pain is difficult to determine. In most cases, back and neck pain may have many different causes, including any of the following:
Overuse, strenuous activity, or improper use, such as repetitive or heavy lifting
Trauma, injury, or fractures
Degeneration of vertebrae, often caused by stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, or the effects of aging
Abnormal growth, such as a tumor or bone spur
Obesity, which places increased weight on your spine, and pressure on your discs
Poor muscle tone
Joint problems, such as arthritis
Protruding or herniated disk and pinched nerve
Osteoporosis and compression fractures
Congenital abnormalities of your vertebrae and bones
Abdominal problems, such as an aortic aneurysm;
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What You Can Do To Prepare For Your Appointment:
If you are going to see a physician or physiotherapist regarding a whiplash injury, there are steps you can take to prepare for your appointment and ensure that you communicate everything you need to, to the medical professional.
- Write down detailed descriptions of your symptoms including when/which movements create more pain and when you feel relief.
- Be prepared to discuss exactly what happened when the accident occurred, when your symptoms arose and what treatments you used to treat the neck strain.
- In addition, keep note of all medications and supplements you currently take and
- be prepared to discuss your medical history.
- Finally, it is a good idea to write down any questions or concerns you would like to ask your doctor or physiotherapist so you do not forget to ask them.
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Pulled Neck Muscle Same As A Neck Strain
A pulled neck muscle is a common term for a simple neck strain, involving the muscles and tendons that support and move the neck and head.; ;There are four primary reasons the cervical spine is so susceptible to develop a strained or pulled muscle in neck:
- The bones of the neck are the smallest of the spine, offering the least stability and support.
- The muscles of the neck are long and thin, and do not have the bulk found in other areas of the spine making them proportionately weaker than they need to be to hold the head up.
- The weight of the head sitting at the top of spine presents a mechanical disadvantage.; With this heavy weight at the top of the thin neck, it takes a lot of effort to hold the head up during the course of the day and nearly impossible during a violent impact.
- The neck is a structure designed to offer flexibility that allows the head to turn rapidly through a large range of motion.; But this flexibility adds to the vulnerability of the neck to injury and the ease of misalignment during trauma. ;A small amount of spinal misalignment can cause a pinched nerve in the neck that can cause pain, numbness, tingling and other health problems. ;This is why the neck can be strained while simply staying in an awkward posture for a prolonged time.
A neck strain or pulled muscle in neck tissue by definition is usually not a serious injury, even though it can cause a great amount of neck pain.
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Create An Ergonomic Workplace
Many people work at a computer desk for eight hours each day. This can contribute to a stiff neck, as well as other ailments. Here are some ways to prevent a stiff neck at work:
- Adjust your chair into a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees a bit lower than your hips.
- Use ergonomic posture while sitting, with your back straight and your arms level to the desk.
- Adjust your computer so that its at eye level.
- Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
- Stand up to stretch and move every hour.
Warning Signs To Look Out For
If you are experiencing any of thesesymptoms, make an appointment to be checked by a medical professional as soonas possible:
- Pins and needles on your tongue or around your face and mouth
- Pins and needles radiating down both arms
- If you have had a bang to the head and are experiencing headaches . For more information, see guidance on identifying concussion from;Mayo;Clinic.
Neck pain can be complex but as mentioned, there are several preventative actions that can be taken and techniques to treat neck pain yourself. The cause of neck pain is not using the phone, working on the laptop, or watching TV. It is doing so for long periods of time without taking breaks. Take regular breaks every 20 minutes, keep the neck moving through its full range of motion. Keep active making sure to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day at moderate intensity. If you have any health issues that you are concerned about make sure you contact a health professional for more specific advice before you engage in physical activity.
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Sleeping In Awkward Positions
Sometimes sleeping in a certain position can cause neck pain. Putting awkward pressure on the wrong part of your neck when youre sleeping could potentially lead to a strain thats caused by overstretching the muscles in your neck. If you notice stiffness after waking up and difficulty moving your neck easily, its possible you injured it while sleeping.
What Are Common Symptoms Of Whiplash
Spine Health describes whiplash as forming when the neck and head jerk back and forth by a sudden force, putting the cervical spine through rapid movement and extreme stress. When we experience whiplash, the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck become irritated and inflamed. There are many common symptoms of whiplash; consider the following for some examples:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Concentration or memory problems
Indications of an injury might not show at the time sustained. They may not surface until 24 hours after the accident. While most individuals who encounter whiplash injuries recover in less than three weeks, some encounter chronic pain for more extended periods of time.
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Pain Management With Lllt
LLLT has been shown to have a significant effect on pain reduction for patients suffering from neck pain.4 Photo acceptors within the body absorb the emitted light when applied in direct contact with the body. The absorbed light stimulates the production of intracellular energy via oxidative phosphorylation in the electron transport chain.
The application of light can be part of a larger treatment program. Optimal outcomes are primarily dependent on the dose of light that is administered to the target area. Treatment times for pain tend to be longer and provide higher doses than those used for the reduction of inflammation. Also of note, the targets for the treatment of pain are different, in that the primary targets are nerves, nerve roots, trunks and branches. A treatment plan should be prepared to address factors such as tissue injury or inflammation but the primary focus should be the reduction of pain.
Neck Pain : What Can Cause It And How To Treat It
If youve ever woken up after sleeping in a position that puts pressure on your neck, then you know how uncomfortable a little neck pain can be. A small neck problem can turn into a major source of discomfort if its not treated right. Thats why its important to know common types of neck injuries, what can cause them and, more importantly, how to treat neck pain if youre experiencing it. Heres some information about neck pain, including what can cause it and how to treat it.
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Ways To Treat Neck Pain Naturally
Suffering from neck pain? Youre not alone.
Up to 70% of Americans experience significant neck pain at some point in their life, whether caused by injury, poor posture or an underlying medical condition.
Neck pain can greatly impact your day-to-day life and can be frustrating to treat using conventional methods.
Lets explore the different causes of neck pain, what other symptoms may accompany your pain, and how to treat neck pain naturally.
Massage For A Stiff Neck
You can also massage with essential oils that are good to relieve pain and inflammation, such as peppermint essential oil, which contains natural analgesic properties that naturally reduce pain. Peppermint also contains methanol that helps naturally soothe sore muscles.
Start by relaxing your muscles by taking a hot shower or bath. Mix a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil with a few drops of the peppermint oil and massage the affected area in firm yet gentle strokes for several minutes. If you cant reach the pain, try asking a friend or a family member for help.
If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy which will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
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When Should I Call My Health Care Provider
See your health care provider if you have:
Loss of bladder or bowel control, with weakness in both legs.; These symptoms require immediate attention
Severe back or neck pain that does not decrease with medication and rest
Pain after an injury or a fall
Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your legs or arms
Back and neck problems range from minor aches to severe, disabling pain
Often, the reasons for your pain cannot be identified.
See a health care provider if you have numbness or tingling, severe; pain that does not improve with medication and rest, difficulty urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, unintentional weight loss, or pain after a fall.
Often, back and neck pain will improve over time. Consult with your health care provider if your pain is not decreasing.
Use prevention strategies to keep yourself healthy and injury-free.
For severe, disabling, or chronic back pain, consider an individualized rehabilitation program.
Preventing And Living With Neck Pain
While avoiding neck pain isnt always possible, you can keep your neck muscles strain- and stress-free by creating healthy habits. Instead of in front of a computer all day, for example, take stretch breaks throughout the day.
If your neck pain feels worse at the end of each day, consider your posture. Are you sitting up straight? Sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor?
If your neck pain feels worse in the morning, check your sleep position and pillow. Use a pillow that supports your neck and keeps it straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted, if possible.
What if you go to sleep feeling fine and wake up with neck pain? Daily life can take its toll on your neck. If you wake up with neck pain, the best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.
- Gently stretch your neck: the Spine Universe Exercise Center offers a video with 3 neck stretches and exercises to help relieve a stiff neck.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
- Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help relieve the pain and expedite the healing process.
- Rest: take a few days off from any strenuous activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as sports and heavy lifting.
Already dealing with neck pain?
Whiplash Or A Sudden Jolt To The Neck
Whiplash describes an injury to the neck where the head jolts forward and then back into place very quickly.
The movement resembles the crack of a whip. People tend to think of whiplash in relation to car accidents, but it can also occur as a result of sporting activities and other sudden movements.
Top Tips To Ease Neck Pain At Home
- Pain relief medication: anti-inflammatory medication or paracetamol is best but always consult with a pharmacist or your GP to check that its safe for you to take
- Apply heat: heat a microwaveable wheat bag and wear for 10-15 minutes making sure this is comfortable and not burning the skin. Repeat every couple of hours in the early stages for the first 2-3 days.
- Remain active: go for a walk, swim, yoga, run, or, whatever your normal exercise routine is; provided its not increasing your pain. Most importantly, avoid all aggravating factors for a few days if possible
- Get up from your desk: if working at desk, take regular breaks, stand up and move about every 20 minutes and move the neck as mentioned below
- Adjust your seated position: make sure the screen you are working at is at eye level
- Movement: the best way to treat neck pain is to move it in all directions little and often throughout the day. If its sore in one direction, move into the pain until you feel it, stop at this point, return to centre, and move in the opposite direction. Attempt this 5-10 times every couple of hours, depending on how irritable it is. A small amount of movement at a time is better than a lot at once.
If the pain has not improved considerably after 3 days book in with us for a full Physiotherapy assessment and treatment programme.
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