Question: I'm a healthy 23 yr old woman, but recently I've been having really bad neck pain. I was thrown off of a horse about 2 weeks ago, but the neck pain had been causing me problems 2 weeks prior to the accident. I went to the ER and the doctor said I had whiplash and severe bruising in my forearm. She prescribed hydrocodone and flexril, enough for 5 days (3x/day each). It has been over 2 weeks since then, and my neck hurts more than ever now. I sincerely believe that I have a phobia of going to doctors, and I am in financial crunch (I was just laid off!), but I think something is seriously wrong. I have a very high pain tolerance, but the pain is nauseating. Should I go see a doctor or wait it out? What could be wrong with me? Please help....and thanks for any and all answers.
Answer: Being thrown off of a horse is a very traumatic experience. Yes, it does sound like you may have experienced whiplash. This violent whipping of the head and neck can create injuries to the structures surrounding the cervical spine. There is also probably a cervical sprain/strain – an injury to the ligaments, soft tissues and neck muscles. This type of injury can also cause headaches, nausea, weakness and changes in sensation as well.
My recommendation is to see a chiropractor about this problem. They will be able to treat your neck using chiropractic manipulation and therapies (Such as ice, heat and electric stimulation). When you are ready, they will also give you exercises as well to stretch and strengthen the cervical spine.
Also, the chiropractor may recommend for you to have a neck x-ray- that can show if there is an alignment issue. If you do not get better with conservative treatment, you may have to go for a cervical MRI which shows the discs and soft tissue structures.
The good news is that chiropractic is covered in most States and by most insurances. If you do not have health insurance, speak with the Doctor and they may be able to put you on a cash/discounted plan.
For the symptoms that you have described, I would ice your neck and upper back. Ice helps to decrease inflammation and provides a pain relieving effect. Get a good support neck pillow for sleeping at night. You may want to use a natural pain relief gel for your neck and upper back to help with the muscle pain. Get a cream called Biofreeze if possible. I would definitely get this checked out, so that you don’t have pain long term. Acute Neck pain can turn into Chronic Neck Pain - meaning that this could last for a long time. It can be a nagging sensation that affects all of your activities of daily living. Therefore, it is best to seek treatment sooner than later.
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