Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), often can control mild to moderate whiplash pain.
Many people with whiplash pain find it helpful to use ice or heat on their necks and upper backs. In general, ice should be used early in the recovery period, to reduce inflammation, while heat is especially helpful to relax muscles before range-of-motion exercises.
Once your pain is under control, your doctor will likely want you to regularly perform gentle stretching exercises to help restore your neck's range of motion. These usually involve rotating your head from side to side, and bending your neck forward, backward and to the sides.
Feb. 15, 2012
- NINDS whiplash information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/whiplash/whiplash.htm. Accessed Dec. 28, 2011.
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- Isaac Z, et al. Evaluation of the patient with neck pain and cervical spine disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 29, 2011.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Dec. 29, 2011.
- Hudgins TH, et al. Cervical sprain or strain. In: Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/163314371-3/896420369/1678/8.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-4007-1..50007-9--cesec4_70. Accessed Dec. 29, 2011.
- Anderson BC, et al. Treatment of neck pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 29, 2011.
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