Whiplash is common after accidents where the neck forcefully moves back and forth rapidly. Most of these are car accidents, but they can happen after a tackle during a game or physical abuse. Sometimes, whiplash takes time before it manifests. When the pain hits, it can be unbearable.
Your doctor may put you on a treatment plan consisting of medication and exercise. However, the regimen may not work since some people have chronic pain. What are your options if you fall into this group of people?
Botox is an FDA-approved treatment that uses the botulinum type A toxin. The neurotoxin attaches itself to nerve endings, inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. The neurotransmitter is responsible for causing muscle contractions in the treatment area. Once you get a Botox injection at the pain site, it causes the muscles to relax and stops the spasms.
You may need a couple of injections before the treatment kicks in. However, you will start to notice the full effects after two weeks. The results can last for between 4 to 6 months. After that, the treatment frequency will reduce until you do not need it anymore.
These injections help soothe pain in the joints, nerves, and other trigger points. It is the usual treatment for diseases like arthritis and bursitis. However, it can also help other inflammatory conditions like whiplash. The injection site depends on what is causing your pain and inflammation.
The doctor injects a combination of steroid and anesthetic medication into the joint. A gel-filled sac helps your muscles and tendons in these areas glide over your bones. When there is swelling, it causes chronic pain, but the injection reduces inflammation and relieves pain. Once you get the injection, you will experience relief within 30 minutes.
However, it may wear off after a few hours. Long-term relief will start once the steroid kicks in and reduces inflammation. For some people, the pain relief is permanent, while others may need the injection every few weeks.
Sometimes, whiplash may cause damage to the discs in the spinal column. In these cases, the combination of the steroid and anesthetic is more effective when in the epidural space. The doctor administers it in the area between the protective dural sac and the bony vertebra. It relieves the pain and reduces the swelling.
Pain relief may last for a few days or years, depending on the individual. The doctor may also combine it with another form of therapy or exercise.
Trigger points are painful areas that can cause muscle knots when they cannot relax. Sometimes, you will notice these muscle knots when you rub your arms or legs. Injecting the steroid and anesthetic injections in small amounts will alleviate the pain and reduce swelling or inflammation. Your doctor can administer the injections at several trigger points. It depends on your need. After the injections, you will need to avoid strenuous activity for the first few days.
For more information on recovering from whiplash, contact Alicja Steiner, MD APC, at our San Diego, California office. Call (619) 304-1539 to schedule an appointment today.