Whiplash is a condition caused by an abrupt backward movement of the neck (extension) and an equally abrupt forward movement (flexion) of the cervical spine. Most whiplash cases are caused by motor vehicle collisions which cause injury to the ligaments, muscles, tendons, discs and joints of the cervical spine. Victims of whiplash experience neck pain which is the most common symptom. In some cases, it can be accompanied by headaches or low back pain and where the victim was not at fault, whiplash claims for compensation are frequent. Of course, this may make the victim feel better with a windfall of cash, but in itself does not assist with rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy is one of the most recommended treatments for whiplash, especially if the pain persists for several weeks. It employs an array of physical techniques to help restore normal and pain-free movement of the neck.
In many cases, the first step is to immobilize the neck in order to reduce pain. A soft collar is used to hold the neck still and the victim may be required to have a day or two of bed rest. A cervical support pillow may be used for extra support while sleeping. Electrical stimulation, ice and massage are the other methods that may be used to reduce pain.
Once the injury is stable, the physiotherapist now concentrates on traction which involves stretching the muscles and joints of the neck to improve their mobility. It can be done using a machine or simply by hand. Various exercises are also recommended to help tone the neck muscles.
Body mechanics is also taught where the patient learns new movement habits which keep the neck safe during day-to-day activities while gradually increasing its range of motion. Patients may be advised to keep off some tasks for some time; but can eventually go back to normal work. if the particular job involves heavy manual work, some adjustments may have to be made.
With the comprehensive rehabilitation and manipulative therapy, the patient should be back to shape in at most 3 months. If you’re suffereing from whiplash, no matter waht the cause, get in touch with Gary to start your rehabilitation.