Drugs and Medications for Whiplash

Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Depending on the severity of your whiplash symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medications and/or spinal injections to deal with the pain. To stress this point: the medications will help relieve your pain, but they won't help heal the injury. Instead, medications and/or spinal injections reduce your pain so that you can work on healing the soft tissue injuries (through physical therapy, for example).
Again, depending on the severity of your pain, you may start with over-the-counter medications. If those don't work to relieve your pain, the doctor may prescribe stronger medications. If prescription medications don't work, the doctor may suggest injections. The progression of treatment depends on your individual symptoms and pain level.

Over-the-Counter Medications for Whiplash

By taking an NSAID, you are building up an anti-inflammatory effect in your system, so it's necessary to take it for awhile. That is, NSAIDs won't be as effective if you take them just when you have pain. Because they build up in your body and work to limit inflammation, you may have to take NSAIDs for several weeks before you notice a significant effect on your pain.

Prescription Medications for Whiplash
If over-the-counter medications don't deal with your pain sufficiently, the doctor may prescribe something stronger. The exact type of medication depends on your symptoms, but the doctor may have you try:

Injections for Whiplash
Injections for whiplash are most effective when combined with a physical therapy or exercise program that helps you work on strengthening the neck muscles. The injection should give you pain relief so that you can turn your attention to healing the actual injury. Several types of injections used for whiplash are:

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Physical Therapy for Whiplash