Whiplash is a really common injury that can occur during a car accident. It involves the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and sometimes even the bones in the neck. Some cases are minor, involving soreness and stiffness that fade away after a few days. Other cases can linger for months or even years. The thing is, it's tough to know in the beginning just how serious your whiplash will be. So it's best to be proactive and to treat every case as though it has the potential to be serious. You can do that by taking specific actions one day, one week, and one month after your accident.

One Day After Your Accident

The day after your accident, make an appointment with a chiropractor. Many are very used to dealing with car accident injuries, and with whiplash specifically. When your neck jerks forward and then back, it can pull some of your vertebrae out of alignment. This causes the muscles to tighten up, which can cause the vertebrae to be pulled further out of alignment. By having your chiropractor adjust you early on before the muscles have had too much of a chance to tighten, you can hopefully help stop the development of whiplash in its track and stop it from being so bad.

The day after your accident — and in the week that follows — you can also take over-the-counter pain relievers, as needed, to manage the pain. Apply a heating pad periodically to keep your muscles loose. 

One Week After Your Accident

A week after your accident, schedule a second chiropractic appointment. If your muscles have tightened up and pulled your vertebrae out of place at all, this will correct it. Also, schedule a massage, and tell your massage therapist about your accident. The massage will loosen up your muscles, helping to further ease any soreness. Keep up with weekly adjustments and massages until a month after your accident.

One Month After Your Accident

One month after your accident, you might feel completely fine, which means you can stop worrying about treatment and go back to your ordinary life schedule.

If you do still have soreness, however, you should schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. They can show you some exercises to stretch and strengthen your neck, which will help alleviate your lingering whiplash pain.

Treating whiplash is all about being proactive. If you immediately start treating it the day after your accident, even if it seems minor, the future will hold more promise.

For more information on whiplash treatment, reach out to a local chiropractor.